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C ! fe e. T . o, ^ 


OPXHH 1737753 


By E. D. NEILL. 

Officebs of tlie army, when stationed at Fort Snelling, 
so boldly situated on a promontory of saccLaroid sandstone 
at tlie confluence of the Minnesota and ^dississippi, or on 
duty at the more secluded posts Forts Kipley and Ritlgoly, 
in looking at the locality on Xicoilet's map marked '-Ruins 
of French Fort," have, with the writer, no doubt, often 
wished there were some works in the English language 
imparting information concerning the old Frencli r^nbo.f: 
in that region. After a diligent search we have gatliered 
a few tacts, which are woven into an essay. 

One of the most picturesque scenes in Xorth America is 
the approach to Lake Pepin. For miles the steamb;>at 
ascending the Mississippi glides through an extended vi<ta, 
crowned in the distance by an amphitheatre of hills whii-li 
define the ba>in of the lake. 

In the summer the islands of the river, luxuriant with 
vegetation, and the hanks lianked by abrupt blutis of lime- 
stone, with cedar trees standing like sentinels wherever 
root-hold can be found, make an impression which the 
traveller cannot erase in a lifetime. 

Occasionally these steep walls of stone recede, with their 
fanciful outline of castles and battlements, and prairies 
Mi-NN. Hist. Coll. Vol. II., Part 2. 7 


sufficiently elevated to be secure from the inundation? of 
spring, appear, wliicli were enticing s[)ots to the ancient 
voi/ogeur after a long and wearisome day's pa<Idle in his 
frail canoe. 

Just below Lake Pepin, on the west shore, opposite the 
mouth of the Chippeway river, is one of the beautiful pla- 
teaus, which captivated Xicholas Perrot, a native of Canada, 
who had been familiar from childhood with the customs 
and dialects of the Xorthwestern savages, and vrho had 
been commissioned by the Governor of Canada as com- 
mandant of the West. 

Xear the site of the present village of Wapasha, with 
twenty other bold spirits, he landed in the year 1683, and 
erected a rude log fort — the first Eun^pean structure in 
that vast region — a generation before Xew Orleans, two 
thousand miles lower down on the same river, was founded. 

This primitive establishment, within the limits of the 
new State of Minnesota, on some of the old maps is appro- 
priately marked as Fort Perrot. During the winter of 
1683-84, the party proceeded to visit the Sioux above the 
lake, but were met by a large delegation descending on the 
ice, who returned, and escorted the Frenchmen to their 

In 1685 it became necessary for Perrot to visit the ^^fia- 
niis, to engage them as allies against the English and Iro- 
quois of Xew York. On his return from this mission he 
was informed by a friendly Indian that the Foxes, Kicka- 
poos, Maskoutens, and other tribes had formed a plan to 
surround and surprise the fort and employ the munitions 
of war against their enemies the Sioux. 

^\^ith all possible sj^eod the commander came back; and 
on the very day of his arrival three spies had |.Teceded liim, 
and obtained admission under the pretext of selling beaver 
skins; and they had now left, and reported that Perrot 
was absent and that the fort was only guarded by six 


Frenclimen. The next (Liy, two additional spies came ; 
but Perrot, in view of liis danger, devised an ingenious 
stratagem. In front of the doors of the buildings, on the 
open square within the enclosure, he ordered all the guns 
to be loaded and stacked, and then the Frenchmen were 
made to change their dress after certain intervals, and stand 
near the guns ; and thus he conveyed the impression that 
he had many more men than the spies had observed. After 
this display the spies Avere permitted to depart on condi- 
tion that they would send from their camp a chief from 
each tribe represented. Six responded to the demand; and 
as they entered the gates their bows and arrows were taken 
away. Looking at the loaded guns, the chiefs asked Per- 
rot "if he was afraid of his children.'' 

He replied, that he did not trouble himself about them, 
and that he was a man who knew how to kill." 

''It seems," they continued, "that you are displeased." 

" I am not," answered Perrot, " although I have good 
reason to be. The Good Spirit has warned me of your 
evil designs. You wish to steal my things, murder me, 
and then go to war against the Xadoueissioux. lie told 
me to be on my guard, and that he wouLl aid if you gave 
any insult." 

Astonished at his knowledge of their perfidy, they con- 
fessed the whole plot, and sued for pardon. That night 
they slept within the fort ; and the next morning their 
friends began to approach with the war-whoop. Perrot, 
with the fifteen men under liis command, instantly seized 
the chiefs, and declared they would kill them if they did 
not make the Indians retire. 

Accordingly, one of the chiefs climbed on to the top of 
the gate, and cried out, " Do not advance, young men, or 
you will be dead men. The Spirit has told ^Metamincns 
[the name by which they designated Perrot] our designs." 



The Indians rai»i(lly fell Lack after this announcement, and 
the cliiets were alloweil to leave the fort. 

In the year 1087 Perrot, Du Luth, and Chevalier Tonti 
came to Xiagara, with allies, and united with Denonville 
ill making a raid u[»on the vSenecas of the Genesee Valley 
— which })roved unsuccessful. 

After this Governor ])enonville, of Canada, furnished 
Perrot with a company of forty men for the purpo^^c of a 
second expedition to the Ui)per Mississippi. Early in the 
spring of 1GS8 they had again reached Fort Perrot ; and 
as soon as the ice disappeared from Lake Pepin the Sioux 
came down, and persuaded Perrot to ascend and visit them 
in their villages. His reception was most flattering. 
Placed on a beaver robe, he was carried, amid triumphal 
songs, to the lodge of the chief. 

"While l^errot went to Xew York, one of the Sioux 
chiefs, with a hundred followers, attacked the fort ; but 
the nation disclaimed the act, and punished the perpetra- 
tors. As Perrot was about to depart, a French trader 
stated that he had lost a package. To discover the lost 
goods the following scheme was devised. The commander 
ordering one of his men to bring a cup of water, but really 
filled with brandy, he told the Indians that if the lost 
articles were not produced he would dry up their swamps 
and hiding places, and then immediately set on lire the 
brandy in the cup. The Sioux, terrified by what seemed to 
be the burnin2: of water, and believino; that he miolit set 
even a river on fire, organized tliemselves as detectives, and 
quickly found the missing property. 

In 1G80 Perrot returned to Green Bay, in Wisconsin, 
and they' made a formal minute of his action as an olHcer 
duly deputed to e>tab]isli friendly and commercial relations 
with the Sioux of Minnesota. The proces- verbal" is as 
follows : — 

Nicholas Pern>t, commanding for the king at the post 


of the Xadouessioux, eoliiniis.sioiied hy the Man|ui.s Doiu'.u- 
ville, Governor imd Lieutenant-Governor of all Xew 
France, to manage the interest of commerce among all the 
Indian trihes and ])eople of the Bay des Puants, XadouL-s- 
sionx, ^fascoutins, and other western nations of the Uiipvr 
Mississippi, and to take posse^^sion in the king's name, of 
all the places where he has heretofore been, and whither 
he will go : 

"We this day, the eighth day of May, one thousand six 
hundred and eighty-nine, do, in the presence of the Ivev. 
Father ^farest, of the Society of Jesus, missionary among 
the Xadouessioux ; of Monsieur Boisguillot, commanding 
the French in the neighborhood of the Ouiskonche on the 
^Mississippi ; Augustin Legardeur, Esq^., Sicur du Caumont, 
and of Messieurs Le Sueur, Ilebert, Lemire, and Blein, 

"Declare, to all whom it may concern, that being come 
from the Bay des Puants, and to the Lake of the Ouis- 
konches, and to the river ^Iississi|)pi, we did transport 
ourselves to the country of the Xadouessioux, on the bor- 
der of the river Saint Croix, and at the mouth of the 
river Saint I^ierre, on the bank of which Avere the ^fautan- 
tans ; and farther up to the interior, to the northeast of 
the Mississippi, as far as the Menchokatoux, with whom 
dwell the majority of the Songeskitons, and other Xadoues- 
sioux, who are to the northeast of the ^Mississippi, to take 
possession, for and in the name of the king, of the coun- 
tries and rivers inhabited by said tribes, and of which they 
are proprietors." 

To this report are attached the signatures of the wit- 

Xotwithstanding Perrot had so thorouodily examined 
this region, in the year 1708 La Ilontan, with unblushing 
effrontery, published a book of travels, in which he claims 
to have exjilored a certain long river, near the head of Lake 
Pepin, on the banks of which lived many wonderful tribes. 



lie asserts tliat lie cnteivrl tliis tributary on the 2(1 of 
November, IGSS, aii<l asceu(li'(l in a canoe day by day until 
near Christmas — forgetting tliat canoo-navigation after the 
middle of December would be impossible, as the rivei-s 
would be frozen. 

Although Bobe, a learned priest at Versailles, wrote to 
De L'Isle the geograi)her of the Academy of Sciences, as 
early as 1716, in these words, ''AVould it not be well to 
ethice that great river which La Ilontan says he discovered? 
All the Canadians, and even the Governor-General, have 
told me that this river is unknown," yet fov nearly half a 
century there appeared on the ma})S of America, in the 
atlases of Europe, the Long Kiver, compared with which 
the Amazon was diminutive. 

Charlevoix, the distinguished and generally accurate 
historian of Xew France, speaks of La Ilontan's alleged 
discovery "as fabulous as the Isle Barrataria, of which 
Sancho Panza was made governor;" yet. a century later, 
the distinguished astronomer, ^Xicollet, is completely mis- 
led, and, in a report to the Congress of the L'nited States, 
says, "Having procured a copy of La Ilontan's book, in 
which there is a roughly-made map of his long river, I 
was struck with the resemblance of its course, as laid down, 
with that of Cannon River, which I had previously 
sketched in my field-book." 

In IGOO Perrot visited Montreal, and, after a brief stay, 
returned to the AVest. But, in consequence of the hostile 
feeling of the Fox Indians, it became unsafe to travel 
through the valley of the AVisconsin; and therefore Le 
Sueur, who had been several times in the far AVest since 
J.G83, was despatched to La Pointe, towards the head of 
Lake Superior, to maintain peace between the Sioux and 
Ojibways, and thus keep open the Bois Brule and St. Croix 
Kivers and have ingress to the valley of the Mississippi. 

Oil the west side of the channel of the Mississippi, 


between Lake Pqiiii and St. Croix, tliere is a continuous 
chain of islands; and on one of these, ten or twelve miles 
from the modern town of Hastings, there is a small i»rairie. 
Easily accessible with canoes, yet retired, it was the spot 
selected by Le Sueur for the second French post in Minne- 
sota. Here, in lG9o, by the order of Frontenac, he erected 
a fort, as a barrier to hostile tribes. Charlevoix, alluding 
to it, says, '^The island has a beautiful prairie, and the 
French of Canada have made it a centre of commerce for 
the western parts, and many pass the winter here, because 
it is a good country for hunting." 

After the establishment of this post, Le Sueur brought 
to Montreal Teeoskahtay, a great Sioux chief, and the first 
of that nation Avho had visited the city. In a council he 
thus addressed Governor Frontenac: " All of the nations 
have a lather, who atfords them protection; all of tlieni 
have iron. But he was a bastard in quest of a father; he 
was come to see him, and begs he will take pity on him." 

Placing twenty-two arrows on a beaver robe, and men- 
tioning the name of a Sioux band for each arrow, he con- 
tinued, and, among other things, said, *' Take pity on us. 
AVe are well aware that we are not able to speak, being 
children; but Le Sueur, who understands our language 
and has seen all our villages, will inform you next year 
what will have been achieved by these Sioux bands repre- 
sented by these arrows before you." 

Poor Teeoskahtay never saw Dakotah-land agahi. After 
a sickness of thirty-three days, in the spring of 169G, he 
died at Montreal, and was buried in the wdiite man's 
grave, instead of being elevated on the burial scaflbld, as 
his fathers were. 

Le Sueur did not then return to the Mississippi, but 
sailed for France, and obtained permission to open certain 
mines supposed to exist in what is now the State of ^linne- 



sotii; l)ut, wliile coming back to America, tlic sliip in which 
he sailed was captured and carried into an English port. 

After his release he proceeded to France, and in 1G98 
obtained a new license to take fifry men to the supposed 
mines; but arriving at Montreal, the Governor of Canada 
postponed the execution of Le Sueur's project, inasmuch 
as it had been thought best to abandon all posts and with- 
draw Frenchmen from the region west of Mackinaw. 

Nothing daunted, the indomitable man once more crossed 
the Atlantic to press his claims at court. Fortunately, 
DTberville, a Canadian by birth, was made Governor ot 
the new territory of Louisiana, and proved a friend and 

In company with the Governor, he arrived at a post not 
far from Mobile, on the G ulf of Mexico, in December, 1699. 
The next summer, with a felucca, two canoes, and nineteen 
men, he ascended the ^Mississippi. On the 14th of Sejv 
teniber he sailed through Lake Pepin, and on the 19th 
entered the river St. Pierre, now called by the Indian 
designation, Minnesota. 

Ascending the latter stream, he reached the mouth of 
the Blue Earth; and on a small tributary, called St. Remi, 
he founded the third post of the French, situated in 4-1:^ 
13' north latitude. The fort was completed on the 14th of 
October, 1700, and called L'lluillier, after the Farmer-Gene- 
ral in Paris, who had aided the project. 

On the 10th of February, 1702, Le Sueur arrived at the 
post on the Gulf of ^lexico, and early in the sunmier sailed 
for France in company with Governor D'Iberville. The 
next year the workmen left at Fort LTIuillier also came 
down to ^Eobile, being forced to retire by the hostility of 
Indians and the lack of supplies. 

Cadillac, writing to Count Ponchartrain, under date of 
August, 1703, says: — 

Last year they sent [NI. Boudor, a Montreal merchant, 


into tlic country of tlie Sioux to join Lo Sueur. lie suc- 
ceeded so well in tlie trip, that he transported thither 
twentN'-five or thirty- thousand pounds of merchandise 
with which to trade. This proved an unfortunate invest- 
ment. ^ ^- * ^ 

" I do not consider it best any longer to allow the traders 
to carry on trade with the Sioux under any pretext what- 
ever, especially as ^f. Boudor has just been robbud by the 
Fox nation. ^ ''^ The Sauteurs, being friendly with the 
Sioux, wished to give passage througli their country to M. 
Boudor, but, the other nations being opposed to it, diiier- 
ences have arisen which resulted in the robbery of 
Boudor. ^ The Sioux are a people of no value to 
us, as they are too fiir distant." 

For twenty years the posts in ^linnesota were abandoned 
by the Canadian Government, and the oidy white men seen 
were soldiers who had deserted, and vagabond voi/agcurs, 
who in their tastes and principles were lower than the 
savages. It was at length perceived tliat the e^-e of Eng- 
land was on the Xorthwest. A despatch from Canada to 
the French Government says, " It is more and more obvious 
that the English are endeavoring to interlope among all 
the Indian nations and attach them to themselves. They 
entertain constantly the idea of l)ecoming masters of Xorth 
America, persuaded that the European nation which will 
be the possessor of that section, will, in course of time, be 
also master of all America, because it is there alone men 
live in health and produce strong and robust children." 

To thwart these schemes, which in time were accomplished, 
the French proposed to reopen the trade and license traders 
for the Xorthwest. On the 7th of June, 172G, peace was 
concluded by De Lignery with the Sauks, Foxes, and 
A\^innebagoes, at Green Bay, and Linctot, who had suc- 
ceeded St. Pierre, in command at La Pointe, on Lake 
Superior, was ordered to send presents, and, by the [»ro- 



mise of a missionary, oiuloavor to dt'taeli tlic Sioux from 
their alliaiico with the Foxes. 

Two Freiiehmeii were, therefore, sent to dwell in the 
Sioux villages, and to promise that if tliey would euasc to 
light tlie Ojihways, trade should once more he resumed, 
and a "hlack rohe" come and teach them. 

The trader and missionary iu those days were in close 
alliance, and an Indian, \n the presence of Count P'rontenac, 
once said, " AVhile we have heavers and furs, he who 
prayed was with us, hut when our merchandise failed, 
those missionaries thought they could do no further service 
amongst us." The truth was simply this, however, that 
when the trader left it was unsafe for the man of God to 

The next spring arrangements were made to carry out 
these pledges, and preparations were made hy traders and 
missionaries to accompany the convoy. 

The Jesuit fathers of the seventeenth century, like 
Protestant missionaries of the nineteenth century, were 
disposed to contrihute to science; and on April 30, 1727, 
the Governor of Canada wrote to France that the fathers 
appointed for the Sioux mission desired a case of mathe- 
matical instruments, a universal astronomic dial, a gradu- 
ated demi-circle, a spirit-level, a chain, with stakes, and a 
telescope of six or seven feet tuhe. 

On the 16th of June the convoy departed from Montreal 
for the Mississi})pi. The commander of the detacliment 
was a fearless officer, De la Perriere Boucher, the same 
man who gained an unenviahle notoriety as the leader of 
the hrutal savages who sacked Haverhill, Massachusetts, a 
few years hefore, and exultingly killed the faithful Puritan 
minister of the village, scal[)ed his loving wife, and then 
dashed out his infant's hrains against the rocks. 

On the "Wisconsin shore, half-way hetween the fort and 
the head of Lake Pepin, there is a prominent hlutl", four 



Imndrc'd feet high, the last two huiulred of wliich is a 
perpendicular limestone escarpment. The Sioux have al- 
ways gazed upon it as ''wawkon," for from its top, their 
legend saith, the heautifal AVenonah leaped into the arms 
of death rather than marry her parents* choice, and he em- 
braced in the arms of a warrior she couLl not love. 

Opposite the ^laiden's Rock, as it is called, on the Min- 
nesota side, there juts into the lake a peninsula, called by 
the French Point du Sable. It has always been a stopping 
place for the voyagcur ; and here, on Se[»tember 17, La 
Perriere du Boucher, v.-ith his party, landed, and proceeded 
to build the fourth and last French post in the Valley of 
the Upper ^lississippi, of which we have any record. 

The stockade was one hundred feet square, within which 
were three buildings, subserving, probably, the uses of 
store, chapel, and nuarters. One of the log huts was thirty- 
eight by sixteen, one thirty by sixteen, and the last twenty- 
five by sixteen feet in dimensions. There were two bastions, 
with pickets all around, twelve feet high. The fort was 
named in honor of the Governor of Canada, Beauharnois, 
and the tathcrs called their mission-house, "St. Michael the 

Guignas and a companion were the Jesuits in charge. 
Mr. Shea, whose zeal in collecting everything the Jesuits 
wrote pertaining to America entitles him to our regard, 
in his compilation of " Early Voya2:es up and down the 
^Mississippi," has inserted an interesting letter from Guig- 
nas, written in ^lay, 1728. 

The father says, "On the morning of the 4th of Xovem- 
ber (1727), we did not forget it was the general's birthday. 
-Mass was said for him in the morning, and they were well 
disposed to celebrate the day in the evening, but the tardi- 
ness of the pyrotechnist caused them to [)Ostpone the cele- 
bration to the 14th, when they set off some very tine 
rockets and made the air v'uvr with a hundred shouts of 



Vive le JiOl/ ! and Vax Charles dc Beau Jiar mis! * ^ ^ ^ 
AVhat coiitiibiitod luiicli to tlic aniuseiiieut, was tlie toiTor 
to some loilges of Indians who were at tliat time around 
the fort. AVhen tlicse poor people saw the fireworks in 
the air, and the stars fall down from heave n, the women 
and children began to fly, and the most courageous of the 
men to cry for mercy, and to implore us very earnestly to 
stop the surprising ]»lay of that wonderful medicine.'' 

The spring of 1728 was remarkable for Hoods, and the 
waters rose so high as to cover the floors of the fort. This 
year also, in consequence of the liostility of the Foxes, the 
majority of the traders who had ap[»lied for the new es- 
tablishments withdrevr v»'ith tlie missionaries. In going to 
Illinois during the month of October, the zealous Guiguas 
was captured by some of the allies of the Foxes, and was 
only saved from being burned by the friendly interposition 
of an aged Indian. After five months of hondage he was 
set free. 

Several years after this the post seems to have been re- 
built a few hundred feet from the shore, beyond the reach 
of hi2:h water, and to have been under the charo-e of St. 
Pierre, in the language of a document of that day, ''a very 
good oftieer, none more loved and feared." Father Guignas 
also revisited the post, but the Sioux were not friendly. 

The Governor of Canada, under date of ^hiy 10, IToT, 
writes, "As respects the Sioux, according to what the 
commandant and missionary have written relative to the 
disposition of these Indians, nothing appears wanting; nut 
their delay in coming to Montreal must render their senti- 
ments somewhat suspected. But what must still further 
increase uneasiness, is their attack on the convoy of ^I. de 
la Veranderie." Captain St. Pierre appears to have been 
the last French otiicer that resided at the post, although 
there were traders there in 174o-4G, for that winter the 
lessees lost valuable peltries by a fire. 


Jonathan Carver, tlio first Englisli traveller to tlie Fulls 
of St. Anthony, in ITGG, describing Lake Pepin, says, "I 
observed the ruins of a French factory, wliere it is said 
Captain St. Pierre resided and carried on a great trade 
with the Xaudowessies before the reduction of Cana>la.'' 

We believe that furtlier research will show that this >anie 
Captain St. Pierre became the aged Legardeur St. Pierre, 
in command of the rude post in Eric County, Pa., in De- 
cember, 1753, to whom AVashington, just entering u}M)n 
his manhood, bore a letter from Governor Dinwiddio, and, 
after being courteously treated, was sent home with a dig- 
nified but decided reply. 

The present article, it is thought, contains all the knowl- 
edge at present accessilde in relation to the French f >rts 
on the Upper Mississippi ; and the prinL-i}>al authorities 
consulted have been AISS. in the Parliament Lilu-ary C)f 
Canada, Charlevoix, La Ilarpe, La Potherie, Xew York 
Colonial Documentary History, and Shea's " Voyages up 
and down the Mississippi." 




From 1819 to 1810. 
By E. D. NEILL. 

For nearly fiftv years Fort Snellinir lias been well known 
for the beauty and prominence of its situation, at the junc- 
tion of the ^linnesota and Mississippi riyers. 

Eecently a portion of its outer wall has fallen, caused 
by excayations for the track of a railroad, and, under the 
adyancing and resistless pressure of modern ciyilization, 
it may be, that within a generation, not one stone will be 
left on another. In anticipation of its disappearance, it is 
the object of this article to narrate some of the incidents 
connected with the Fort and the yicinity, preyious to the 
organization of Minnesota. 

After the cession of Louisiana to the United States, 
President Jeticrson sent an exploring expedition under 
Lieut. Z. M. Pike to the Upper Mississippi. On the 23d 
of September, 1805, on the island which is called by his 
name, at the moutli of the Minnesota, Pike held a con- 
ference with the Siuux. and obtained a grant of lands f>r 
military purpose-, nine niik^s square, at the mouth of the 
St. Croix, also from below the conlhience of the Minnesota 
ar.d Mis>is>i[.pi, and up the latter, to inchide the Falls of 
Saint Antliony, extending nine mileson each sideof the riyer. 

The war with Great Pritian, and other causes, delayed 



tlie ostal)li;4iinciit of a po-^t on tlio Fj^per Mississij'pi for 
several years; but on the lOtli of Foljruary, 1819, John C. 
Calhoun, then Secretary of AVar, issued an order for tlie 
5th Regiment of Infantry to rendezvous at Detroit, pre- 
paratory to proceeding to the Missis>ip[ii to garrison or 
estahlish military posts, and the headquarters of tiic regi- 
ment was directed to Le at the fort to he located at the 
mouth of the Minnesota, then St. Peter's river. 

It was not until the 17th of September, that Lieut. -Col. 
Leavenworth, with a detachment of troops, reached tliis 
point, the keel-boats having been much delayed by the 
very low stage of water. 

A cantonment was first established at Xew Hope, near 
Mendota, not far from the ferry. During the vv'inter of 
1819-20, forty of the soldiers died from scurvy. In the 
sj)ring of 1820 J. B. Faribault came up from Prairie du 
Chien with Leavenworth's horses, and made his permanent 
home in Minnesota. Through his iulluence with the com- 
manding ofiicer, he obtained a quasi grant from the Indians 
of Pike's Island, but after an investigation of the circum- 
stances, the government refused to confirm it. 

On the 5th of May, Leavenworth crossed the Minnesota, 
and established a summer camp near the spring, abo\ e the 
military graveyard, which was called " Cold AVater." The 
relations of Colonel Leavenworth vrith the Indian Agent 
at this time were not as harmonious as they might hiive 
been. The former was disposed to distribute medals and 
presents, and assumed duties that had not been delegated. 
Gov. Cass, returning from his tour to the Fpper ^Missis- 
6ip[»i, stopped at Camp Coldwater, and seems to have 
appreciated the Agent's position. The actions of the 
Colonel led to the following letter from Major Taliaferro: — 

Camp St. Petkhs, July 30, 1820. 
Dkar vSik: As it is now iinJorstood tl:at I am tiie Aqfiit tor 
IiKliaa Atiairs in this country, and you are about to kuvc tlie 



Upper Mississip[>i, in all prubaljility in the course of a month or 
two, I bt-^ leave to suggest, for the sake of a general understanding 
with the Indian tribes in this country, that any medals you may 
possess would, by being turned over to me, cease to be a topic of 
remark among the ditferent bands of Indians under my direction. 
I will pass to you any voucher that may be required, and I beg 
leave to observe also that my progress in influence is much impeded 
in consequence of their frequent intercourse with the garrison. The 
more they become familiarized to our strength in this country, the 
less apt they are to respect cither the Agent or his Government. 
On rellection you will doubtless think me correct. 
I am, sir, very respectfully. 

Your friend and obedient servant, 

Indian Agent Upper Mississippi. 

Col. H. Leavknwortii, 

Commanding oth Infantry, Camp Cold water. 

This disastrous effect of the unrestricted intercourse ot 
Indians, with the soKliers of the garrison, was tbrcibl}' ex- 
hibited a few days subsequent to the date of this letter. 

On the tliird of August, Mahgossau, a chief called by 
the whites "Old Bustard," accompanied by another Indian, 
visited Camp Coldwater, and was presented with •* fire 
water." AVhile on his return to the Agency, still kept at 
the first cantoinnent, his comrade stabbed him. The oc- 
currence called forth the following note : — 

Indian Aciency, St Peters, August 5, 1820. 
Dear Sir: His Excellency Gov. Cass, during his visit to this 
Post, remarked to me that the Indians in this quarter were spoiled, 
and at the same time said that they should not be permitted to enter 
the Camp. I beg leave to suggest to you the propriety of his re- 
mark, by an observance of which my influence may be t^aciliraied 
and the government re-pccted. An unjdeasant atfair has lately 
taken place. I mean the stabbing of the old chief IMaiigossau by 
his conjrade. This was caused, doubtless, by an anxiety to obtain 
the chiefs whiskey. I beg, therefore, that no whiskey whatever 



be given to any Indian, unless it be through their proper Agent. 
While an overplus of whiskey thwarts the beneficent and humane 
policy of the Government, it entails misery upon the Indians, and 
endangers their lives as well as those of their own peoi)le. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

LAWn. TALIAF KliRO, Indian Agent. 
Col. II. Lkavenwortii, Coinnianding 5tli Infantry. 

A few days after this corresi)ondeiice, Colonel Josiah 
Snelling arrived, and relieved Leavenworth. His presence 
infused system and energy among men and officei*s. On 
the 10th of September the corner stone of Fort St. An- 
tlionv was laid. The barracks were at first losr structures. 

During the summer of 1820 a party of the Sisseton Sioux 
killed on the ^iissouri Isadore Poupon, a half-breed, and 
Joseph Andrews, a Canadian, two men in the employ of a 
fur company. As soon as the intelligence reached the 
Agent, Major Taliaferro, trade with the Sioux was inter- 
dicted until the o;uiltv were surrendered. Finding;; that 
they were deprived of blankets, powder, and tobacco, a 
council was held at Big Stone Lake, and. one of the mur- 
derers, and the aged father of another, agreed to go down 
and surrender themselves. 

On the 12th of Xovember, escorted by friends and 
relatives, they approached the post. Halting for a brief 
period, they formed and marched in solemn procession to 
the centre of the parade ground. In atlvance was a Sisse- 
ton, bearing a British flag ; next came the murderer, and 
the old man who had oliered himself as an atonement for 
his son, with their arms pinioned, and hirge wooden si)lin- 
ters thrust through the ilesh above the elbow, indicating 
their contempt for pain ; and in the rear followed friends 
chanting the death-song. 

After burning the British fiag in front of the sentinels 
of the Fort, they formally delivered the prisoners. The 

Minn. Hist. Coll. Vol. II., Part 2. 8 



murderer -was sent under guard to St. Louis, and the old 
mail detained as a hostage. 

The first white women in Minnesota were the wives of 
army ofHcers. ^frs. Snelling aeeompanied her husljand, 
and a few days after lier arrival at ^fendota, a daughter 
was horn, and alter a brief existence of thirteen months, 
died and was huried in the graveyard of the fort. It was 
the first interment, and the stone which marks its remains 
can still be seen. 

Tlie wife of Captain Clark, the commissary of the post, 
arrived in 1820, with an infant, born at Fort Y\^innebago, 
"Wisconsm, who still lives, a resident of ^Minnesota, and 
the honored wife of the quiet, efficient, and unassuming 
Major General Van Cleve. 

!Mrs. Gooding, the wife of Captain Gooding, remained 
at the post until 1821, when her husband resigned, and 
became the sutler of I*rairie du Chien. 

The year 1821 was occui»ied by the military in the con- 
struction of the fort, and by Major Taliaferro, the Agent, in 
dissipating the prejudices of the Indians, instilled by British 

On the 12th of September a party of Sissetons visited 
the Agent, and the spokesman said: — 

"AVe are glad to lind your door open to-day, my father. 
The Indians, you see, are like the wild dogs of the prairie. 
When they stop at night, they lie down in the open air, 
and rise with the sun and pursue their journey. I ap})lied 
for the other murderer of the white men of the Mis-ouri, 
but in brinu'inL'" him down, the fear of beino' hunir induced 
him to stab himself to deatb.'' 

Early in August, a young and iivtelligent mixe<l blood, 
Alexis Bailly, lel't the fort for the Red lliver settlement, 
with a drove of thirty or forty cattle. 

On the 1st of October, Major Talialerro and some of the 
ofHcei*s of the fort, and Mra. Captain Gooding, rode up to 



the Falls of Saint Aiitliony, to visit the govcrnmoiit mill, 
being constructed under the supervision of Lieut. MeCabe. 
Two weeks later, Col. Snelling, Lieut. Ixixley, Mrs. Good- 
ing, and ^fajor Taliaferro went to Prairie du Chien in the 
keelboat Saucy Jack." 

Early in January, 1822, Alexis Bailly, Col. Robert 
Dickson, and Messrs. Laidlaw and Mackenzie arrived at 
the Prairie from Selkirk Settlement. AVhile here, the 
Indian Agent learned that at a saw-mill on the Black Kiver, 
built by Hardin Perkins, a foreign subject, named J. B. 
!Mayraud, was trading without a license, and on tlie 2d of 
February, he sent Thomas McXair to seize his goods. The 
notorious Joseph Rolette, sen., attemi>ted to frustrate the 
plan by sending Alexis Bailly to give warning. On the 
same day that !McXair was sent to Black River, ^f. Dous- 
man was authorized to take possession of the stores of Mon- 
treville, trading with the Indians above Lake ]*epin. 

From that time the old British traders did not leave a 
stone unturned to elfect the removal of Major Taliaferro, 
as he could not be coaxed nor intimidated to wink at the 
plans for fleecing the ignorant Indians. 

In the fall of 1822, Fort St. Anthony was sufficiently 
completed to admit of its occupancy by the troops. 

In the spring of 1823, it was proved that it was practi- 
cable to navigate the ^lississippi with steamboats as far as 
the ^linnesota River. The Virginia, a steamer one hunilred 
and eighteen feet in length and twenty-two in width, com- 
manded by Captain Crawford, on tlie lOtli of ^fay made its 
appearance at the Fort, and was received with a salute. 
Among the passengers were Major Biddle, Lt. Russell, 
Taliaferro, the Indian Agent, and Beltrami, an Italian 
refugee and traveller, with letters of introduction to Col. 
Snelling and f imily. On the od of July, Maj(^r Long, of 
the Topographical Engineers, arrived at the Fort, at the 
head of an expedition to explore the Minnesota River, and 



the roc-ion aloiiir tlic nortlicrn boundarv luie of tlic United 
States. Beltrami, at tlio instanee of Col. Snelling, was 
permitted to be one of the exploring party, and Major 
Taliaferro kindly gave him a horse and equijjments. The 
relations of the Italian to Long did not prove pleasant, and 
at Pembina, ]>eltrami separated from the party, and, with 
a " bois briile" and two Ojibways, proceeded and discovered 
the northern sources of the Mississippi, and suggested 
where the western sources would l)e found, which was veri- 
fied by Schoolcraft nine years later. About the second 
week in September, Ijoltrami returned to the Fort by way of 
the Mississippi, escorted by forty or fifty Ojibways, and on 
the 25th departed for Xew Orleans, where he published his 
discoveries in the French language. 

In the year 1824, the Fort was visited by General Scott, 
on a tour of inspection, and at liis suggestion its name was 
chane;ed from Fort St. Anthonv to Fort Snellino-. 

The following is an extract from his report to the AVar 
Department : — 

This work, of wliicli the War Department is in possession of a 
plan, reflects the highest credit on Col. Snelling, his otlicers and 
men. The defences, and for the most part tlie public storeliouses, 
shops, and quarters being constructed of stone, the whole is likely 
to endure as long as the post shall remain a frontier one. The cost 
of erection to llie government has only been the amount paid for 
tools and iron, and the per diem paid to soldiers employed as mc- 

I wish to suggest to the Gcneral-in-Chief, and througli him to 
the War Department, the [)ropriety oC calling this work Fort Snel- 
hng, as a just complimeiit to tlie meritorious olficer under whom it 
has been erected. 

Tlic present natne [Fort St. Anthony] is foreign to all our asso- 
tions, and is besides g('ogra[)hicaIly incorrect, as tlie work stands at 
tlie junction of tin; Mi-sissippi and St. Peter's rivers, eigiit miles 
below tlie great falls of the 3Iissis?ip[>i, called ai'ter St. Anthony. 



In 1824, Major Taliaferro proceeded to AVasliin£rton, with 
a delegation of Chii>peways and I )alikotali.s headed \>y Little 
Crow, the grandfather of the chief of the .^anie name, ^vho 
was cniraixed in the late horrible massacre of dcfencek-ss 
women and children. The object of the visit was to secure 
a convocation of all the tribes of the Upper Misdissii>pi at 
Prairie du Chien, to define tlieir boundary lines and estab- 
lish friendly relations. When they reached Praire du 
Chien, AVahnatah, a Yancton chief, and also AV^apasha, by 
the whisperings of mean traders, became disatiected, and 
wished to turn back. Little Crow, perceiving this, stopped 
all hesitancy by the following speech : — 

"My Friends: You can do as you please. I am no 
coward, nor can my ears be pulled about by evil counsels. 
A\"e are here and should go on, and do some good for our 
nation. I have taken our Father here [Taliaferro] by the 
coat-tail, and will follow him until I take by the hand our 
great American Father." 

While on board of a steamer on the Ohio river, Marcpee 
or the Cloud, in consequence of a bad dream, jumped from 
the stern of the boat, and was supposed to be drowned, but 
he swam ashore and made his way to St. Charles, Mo., 
there to be murdered by some Sacs. The remainder safely 
arrived in Washington, and accomplished the object of 
the visit. The Dahkotahs returned by the way of Xew 
York, and while tliere were anxious to pay a visit to cer- 
tain parties with AVm. Dickson, a half-breed son of Col. 
Robert Dickson, the trader who led the Indians of the 
Xorthwest against the United States in the war of 1812. 

After this visit. Little Crow carried a new double-bar- 
relled gun, and said that a medicine man by the name of 
Peters gave it to him fur signing a certain paper, and That 
he also promised he would send a keelboat full of gi^ods 
to them. The medicine man referred to was the Pev. 
Samuel Peters, an Fpiscopal clergyman, who had made 



himself obnoxious during: tlie Ivovolution l)y his tory >cnti- 
mc'iits, and was su])sof[iiontly nominated as Bishop of Ver- 
mont j^' 

Peters asserted that in 180G he liad junvhased of the 
heirs of Jonathan Carver the right to a tract of land on the 
Upper Mississippi, embracing St. Paul, alleged to have 
been given to Carver by the ])ahkotahs in 1TG7. 

The next year tliere arrived in one of the keelboats from 
Prairie du Chien at Fort Snelling, a box marked for Col. 
Robert Dickson. On opening, it was found to contain a 
few presents from Mr. Peters to Dickson's Indian wife, a 
long letter, and a copy of Carver's alleged grant, written 
on parchment. 

As early as April 5th, 1825, the steamboat Eufus Put- 

* The J\t. Rev. Bisliop Chase, Bisliop of Xew H.impshire, in his notes 
on tlie History of the Protestant Kpisc'Oi)al Churcli in Vermont, says: 
*'The Rev. Samuel Peters, LL.D., t'amiliarly knOAvn among our older 
churchmen under the name of ' Bishop Peters,' tells us [see his Lite of 
Hugli Peters, p. 94], that he was the tirst eler^yman who visited ' Verd 
jMont,' as he ealls it. Tliis was in Oetober, 1708, when, with a number 
of gentlemen, he ascended to one of the Green ^lountain peaks, and tliere, 
in sight of Lake Chaniplain on the west and of Connecticut River on tlie 
east, and stretcliing his view over interminable forests northward and 
southward, jnoelalmed the name of ' Verd .Mont.' After this, as he re- 
lates, he passed througli most of the settlements, preaching and baptizing 
for the space of fight weeks. The number baptized by him, at tliat early 
period, of adults and children, is set down at nearly twelve hundred — a 
number very remarkable, certainly, considering the sparseness of the 

It is said to be on record that he was nominated for colonial Bishop of 
Vermont, by some one of the P>ritish colonial governors. Accordingly 
he went to England to procure consecration, but was rejected. Afror the 
close of the War of the Revolution he revived his claim to the bishopric 
of Vermont, an<l applieil to the newly consecrated American Bl-hops ; 
but from some cause he failed to make his claims respectt-d, and so never 
became Bishop. lie was an extreme tnry, and spent most of his life in 
political intriguery. He <lie<l in Now York, April 19, at the age 

of ninety years. — Committee. 

FORT SNELLIXa, FROM 1819 TO 1840. 


nam, Captain Bates in command, reached the Fort. Four 
weeks after she made a second trip with goods for the 
Cohmibia Fnr Company, and proceeded to Land's End, 
their trading post on the Minnesota Iviver. 

Tliis year was also remarkable for the j^reat convocation 
of tribes at Prairie du Chien, in tlie presence of Governors 
Cass and Clark, at which a definite boundary line between 
the Chippeways and Dahkotah country was agreed upon. 

After the council was over, Mr. Taliaferro and delega- 
tion left in three MackinaAv boats, Avith eighteen v(n-a- 
geurs. Great sickness prevailed among the Indians. Before 
Lake Pepin was reached, a Sisseton chief died. At Little 
Crow's village, on the east side of the river, just below the 
present city of St. Paul, the sickness had so increased that 
it was necessary to leave one of the boats, and, after much 
tribulation, on the 30th of August, the remainder of the 
party reached Fort Snelling. The Agent api)ointed Mr. 
Laidlaw to conduct the Yanctons, AVahpetons, AVahkpa- 
cootays, and Sissetons to their homes, but on the way 
twelve died. 

Among the sick Chippeways who died at the mouth of 
the Sauk River, about the same time, was the wife of llole- 
in-the-Day, and the mother of the present chief of that name. 

On the 30th of October, seven Indian women, in canoes, 
were drawn into the rapids above thd Falls of St. Anthony. 
All were saved but a lame 2:irl A\ho was dashed over 
the Falls, whoso body, a month afterwards, was found at 
Pike's Island, in front of the Fort. 

Forty years ago, the means of communication between 
Fort Snellingr and the civilized world were verv limited. 
The mail in the winter was usually carried by soldiers to 
Prairie du Chien. On the 2Gth of January, 182(3, there 
was great joy in the fort, caused by the return from fur- 
lough of Lieutenants Baxley and Russell, who brcnight 
with them tlie tirst mail received for jive months. About 



this period there was aUo aiiotlier excitement caused by 
the seizure of liquors iu the trading house of Alexis Bailly, 
at Xew Hope, now ]^fendota. 

In February, the monotony of wilderness life was again 
broken bv a duel between two oflicers of the 2:arrison. On 
tlie 2od of this month the othcers went down to Faribault's 
house, a short distance from Car\-er's Cave, to attend a 
grand medicine dance. During the month of Marrh, a 
young son of Lieutenant Melanctlion Smith died. OtHcers 
and men, preceded by a band of music playing the Dead 
March," escorted the remains to their last resting place. 

On the 8th of February, Colonel Snelling received the 
following letter from the Indian Agent: — 

Dear vSir: Agreeably to your request, made a few days since, 
desiring information as to the most practicable and speedy route 
to tlie seyeral trading posts on the U[)per Mississippi, also the 
number of points at which locations have been made for carrying 
on trade with the Indians, and also any other information deemed 
pertinent to tlie subject, tliat might be in my possession: 

I have at length, after a full examination of documents in my 
office, been enabled to state as follows: The number of locations 
made by me under the act of Congress of the 2Cth of May, 1S24, 
on the waters of the Mississippi alone, amount to seven in number, 
viz., one at the mouth of Chippeway River, one at the Falls of St. 
Croix, one at Crow Island, one at Sandy Lake, one at Leaf Lake, 
one at Leech Lake, and one at Ked Lake. 

My letter to you of the Gth of January last, informs you of the 
purport of ]Mr. Prescott's report, and there is no doubt but that 
the goods and peltries of tliose Canadians near his house, are 
liable to and won d be a lawfid seizure, besides the forfeiture of 
their bonds, in the stmi of $'>00 each, they entering the country 
to serve as boatswain or interpreter, as the case may be. 

^Ir. Baker reports one liouse to be in operation between Crow 
Island and Sandy Lake, wliere no location has been made by any 
Agent of the government. This trader, it appears, was licensed 
for lied Lake, and permitted to take with him twenty kegs of 



liquor, but found it better suited liis purpose to establisli liirnsclf 
as before stated. 

There may be some wliiskey at Sandy Lake, but no large quantity 
nearer than the post of the American Fur Company, at the Fond- 
du-lac, on Lake Superior, which would be too far for troops to 
march at this advanced season of the w inter. I am also informed 
that the buildings which were erected for the accommodation of 
our troops while getting timber for the public service last winter, 
are now occupied by common hands of tlie American Fur Conjpany, 
and are no doubt unlawfully engaged in the Indian trade. Traders 
have no right to station their men at any point, otlier than at 
special posts, assigned in tlieir licenses. 

As it is not in my power to give a correct statement of the route 
from this point to tlie leading locations above on the Mississippi, I 
have, therefore, procured a faithful Indian as a guide to the first 
post, Crow Island, where every facility to the other posts will be 
afforded by B. F. Baker. 

I am fully im[)ressed with the belief that showing a detachment 
of troops occasionally in the Indian country, on the Upper ^dissis- 
sippi, will have the effect, in a short time, of putting an entire 
stop to this petty illicit trade, and the bartering of whiskey, which 
has been carried on for several years past. And it also makes 
strong impressions on the minds of the Indians. They see that 
the government can reach them and the traders also at pleasure. 

In connection witli this letter, we record tlie locations 
and names of all the posts within the Agency at that time: — 

1. Fort Adams, Lac-qui-parle, house of Columbia F ur Company. , 

2. Fort Washington, Lac Traverse, " " " " 

3. Fort Columbia, Upper Sand Hills, Cheyenne American 

4. Fort Biddle, Crow Island, " 

5. Fort Ru.>h, mouth of Chippeway River, '* " 

6. Fort Union, Traverse des Sioux, Columbia " " 

7. Fort Factory, near Fort Snelling, on tiie St. Peter's. 

8. Fort Barbour, Falls of St. Croix, Columbia Fur Company. 

9. Fort Ctilhoun, Leech Lake, American " '* 
10. Fort Bolivar, Leaf Lake, Columbia " 


:minnf.?ota iirsToiircAL collections. 

11. Fort Pike, Ihid Lake, Aincrican Fur Company. 

12. Fort nice, Devil's Lake, " " 

13. Fort Greene, below Big Stone Lake, American Yur Com- 


1-1. Fort SoiilliarJ, Forks of Red Cedar River, American Fur 

15. Fort Lewis, Little Rai)ids (St. Peter's), American Fur 

IG. Fort Confederation, second forks Des Moines River, Colum- 
bia Fur Company. 
17. Fort Benton, Sandy Lake, American Fur Company. 

During the months of February and IMarcli, in tlie year 
182(3, snovr fell to tlie dei)th of two or three feet, and there 
was threat sutferino; amoiis: the Indians. On one occasion 
thirty lodges of Sisseton and other Sioux were overtaken 
by a snow storm on a large prairie. The storm continued 
for three days, and provisions grew scarce, for the party 
were seventy in number. At last the stronger men, with 
a few pairs of snow-shoos in their possession, started for a 
trading post one hundred miles distant. They reached 
their destination half alive, and the traders sympatliizing, 
sent four Canadians with supplies for those left behind. 
After great toil they reached the scene of distress and 
found many dead ; and, what was more horrible, the living 
feeding on the corpses of their relatives. A mother had 
oaten her dead child, and a portion of her o\yn father's 
arm>. The sliock to her nervous system was so great that 
she lost her reason. Her name vras Tash-u-no-ta, and she 
was both young and good-looking. One day in So}»tember 
1820, while at Fort Snelling, she asked Captain Jouott if 
lie knew which was the best portion of a man to eat, at 
tlie same time taking him by the collar of his coat. He 
replied with great astonishment, "Xo," and she then said 
''the arms." She then asked for a piece of his servant to 
eat, as she was nice and fat. A few days after this, she 



dashed herself from the bhifts near Fort Snellinir, hito tlio 
river. Iler body was found jnst above tlie mouth of the 
Minnesota, and decently interred by tho Agent. 

The spring of lS2tj was very backward. On tlie 20tli of 
!Mareh snow fell to the deptli of one or one and a half 
feet on a level, and drifted in heaps from six to fifteen feet 
in height. On the 5th of April, early in the day, there 
was a violent snow storm, and the ice was still thick in 
the river. During the stonn, flashes of lightning were seen 
and tliunder heard. On the 10th, tlie thermometer was 
four degrees above zero. On the 14th, there was a rain, 
and on the next day the St. Peter's river broke up, but tlie 
iee in the !Mississipp)i remained firm. On the 21st, at noon, 
the ice began to move, and carried away !Mr. Faribault's 
houses on the east side of the river. For several days the 
river was twenty feet above low-water mark, and all the 
houses on low lands were swept oti*. On the 2d of ^lay 
the steamboat Lawrence, Capt. Reeder, arrived. 

!Major Taliaferro had inherited several slaves, that he 
used to hire to officers of the garrison. On the 31 st of 
March, his negro boy AVilliam was employed by Col. Snol- 
ling, the latter agreeing to clothe him. About this time 
William attempted to shoot a hawk, but instead shot a 
small boy, named Henry McCidlum, and nearly killed him. 
In May, Captain Plympton of the 5th Infantry wished to 
purchase his negro woman Eliza, but he refused, as it Avas 
his intention ultimately to free his slaves. Another of his 
negro girls, TTarriet, was married at the Fort, the Major 
performing the ceremony, to the now historic Dred Scott, 
who was then a slave of Surgeon Emerson. 

The only person that ever purchased a slave was Alexis 
Bailly, who bought a man from ^Tajor Garland. The 
Sioux at first had no prejudices against negroes. They 
called them "black Frenchmen,*' and placing their hands 
on their woolly heads would laugh heartily. 



The followincr i^; a list of the steamboats that had 
arrived at Fort Snelling up to May 2(3, 182(3 : — 

1. Virginia, ^U\y 10, 1823. 9. Josephine. 

2. Neiville. 10. Fulton. 

3. Putnam, April 2, 1825. 11. lied Rover. 

4. ^landan. 12. Black Rover. 

5. Indiana. 13. Warrior. 

6. Lawrence, May 2, 182G. 14. Enterprise. 

7. Sciota. 15. Volant. 

8. Eclii)se. 

The subjoined was written by Colonel Snelling to ^fajor 
Taliaferro, while the latter was on a visit to the Sioux of 
the Upper 2\Iinncsota : — 

Fort Sxellixg, August 20, 1S26. 
Dear Sir: Your letter of the 24tli was received last evening. 
I have directed Capt. Watkins to take twenty days rations; it will 
be better to have a surplus than a deficiency. Col. Croghan has 
been here, and departed very well satisfied. ^Mr. Marsh accompa- 
nied him, and left a letter for you, which I now send. It seems 
that Mr. Secretary Barbour took no other notice of your letter than 
to send it to Gov. Cass, and he gave it to ^Nlarsh, and "so we ^o.** 
1 have no serious apprehensions for the safety of Fort Crawtbrd, 
but the reports afloat were of such an imposing character that I 
thought it my duty to reinforce it. If it had fallen for want of aid, 
I should have lost my military reputation forever. I trust that 
you will agree with me that Capt. Wilcox was a good selection for 
the command. "Wabasha is said to have agreed to join the con- 
federacy, if the Sioux of the St. Peters would do it, and they have 
declined. "We have no mail, nor news. Your atlairs go on well 
under IMr. L., wlio is a general favorite. My family is about as 
usual. Joseph's wound is doing well. ^ladam desires to be sin- 
cerely and cordially remembered to you. Capt. Garland is here, 
with a very interesting family. Remember me to Lt. Jamieson. 

Truly your friend, 
Major L. Taliafkriio, J. SNELLING. 

Indian A;rcnt for the Sioux of the St. Peters. 



Daring tlic fall of 1820 all the troops at Fort Crawford 
were brouglit up to Fort SncHing, rendering tlie garrison 
very full. 

On tlie night of the 28tli of ^fay, 1827, while Flat 
Mouth, Chief of the Pillagers, and a detachment of the 
Sandy Lake Indians were quietly encami>ed in front of 
the Agency House, and under the guns of the Fort, nine 
Sioux attacked them, wounding eight of the party. The 
Sioux were immediately notified that as they liad insulted 
the flag of the United States they must make ample satisfac- 
tion. On the next day they delivered nine of the assailants, 
and two of them were immediately shot. On the 31st, two 
more were dclivere:.! up, and met with a similar fate. 

Among the wounded Chippeways was a little girl ten 
years old, who had been shot through the thighs. Sur- 
geon McMahon made every effort to save her life, but 
without avail. 

After the removal of the troops from Fort Crawford to 
Fort Snelling, the AVinnebagoes became more and more 
insolent, and in the m')nth of March, 1827, they attacked 
the camp of a half-breed at Painted Rock Creek, on the 
Iowa side of the river, above the prairie, and killed the 
whole family. 

About the same time two kcelboats, with provisions, on 
their way to Fort Snelling, had been ordered to land at 
Wapasha's village, by his band of Sioux, but the crow, by 
preserving a bold mien, were not molested. 

On their return, while about 50 miles above Prairie du 
Chien, they were attacked by some AVinnebagoes, mad- 
dened by liquor obtained from Joseph Rolette. Jo>ci)h 
Snelling, a son of the Colonel, who was a passenger on one 
of the boats, in a letter to his father, said that the front 
boat, which was a few miles in advance of the other, was 
attacked in the evening, and pierced with hundreds of 
bullets. The Indians then boarded the boat, and attempted 



to run her ashore, hut hy the signal hravcry of tlic crew 
they were driven otK The rear ]K)at was also attacked, 
but after several rounds were tired, they desiste<h 

Munk'rs were also eonimitted near Prairie (hi Chien. and 
the panie-strieken Settlers luid taken refuge in FortC'rawfonh 

As soon as the intelligence was received, on the evening 
of Julv Otli, Col. Snelliua: started in keelboats with four 
companies to jirotect Fort Crawford, and on the 17th of 
August four more coni}tanies of 5th Infantry k'ft under 
Afajor Fowle. 

After an absence of six weeks, the sokliers returned to 
Fort Snelling without tiring a gun at the enemy. General 
Atkinson quieted the AVinnehagoes by tlie execution of 
their two prominent warriors, Red Bird and. AVekaw, who 

During the fall of this year, the 5th Regiment of infantry 
was ordered to Jetierson Barracks, and after their arrival 
at that post, Colonel Snelling proceeded to AVashington to 
settle some accounts, and, Avdiile in that city, was seized 
with intlammation of the brain and died. 

On the 15th of February, 1828, Alexis Bailly, trader at 
Xew Hope, now Mendota, applied for the establishment of 
a new trading post for the AVahpaykootays, on the Cannon 

During the winter of 1828, Duncan Graliame and Jean 
Brunet began to cut timber on tlie Chi})peway River, as 
Perkins & Co. had done in 1823. This act being considered 
an infraction of the law, Dunean Campbell was sent to visit 
the parties. His instructions were in these words: — 

Indian Agkncy, St. Peters, 
February 13, 1S28. 
Sir: The enclosed letter you will, on reaciiing the Chippeway 
River, deliver to Mr. Duncan Giahame, who is reported to be 
engaged in trade on that river. 

You will take every possible means to inform yourself of this 



fact, and report the clrcuni-tanccs to this olTice. It is also desirable 
tliat you ascertain the number of persons engaged in procuring 
timber at the same place, and particularly at what distance below 
the Falls of the Chippeu ay. * * * * ^Ir. Quinn will aceom- 
pany you on the present expedition, as it is unsiUe, from ihc severity 
of the season, to proceed alone. 

During the mouth of June, Samuel Gibson, a drover 
from Missouri, lost his way wliile driving cattle to Fort 
Snelling, and he abandoned them near Lac-f[ui-|>arle. The 
trader there, Mr. Kenville, took charge of them, and sixty- 
four head were subsequently sold by the Indian Agent's 
order, for ST50, and the money forwarded to the unfortunate 

The winter, spring, and summer of 1829 were exceediiigly 
dry. For ten months the average monthly fall of rain and 
snow was one inch. Vegetation was more backward than 
it had been for ten years, and navigation during the sum- 
mer was almost impossible. 

On the evening of July 27th, Lieut. Reynolds arrived 
with a keel boat of supjdies, but one-half of the load had 
to be left at Pine Bend, before the boat could pass the bar 
in that vicinity, and sixty days v>-ere occupied in coming 
from St. Louis. The arrival was most opportune, as the 
garrison were eating their last barrel of flour. This sum- 
mer llazen ^Nlooers came down from Lake Travei-se, with 
one liundred and twenty-six packs of furs, value^l at t^velve 
thousand dollars. 

It was in this year that the first attempt, in the present 
century, was made to establisli missions in Minnesota. 

In a journal kept at the Fort, under the date of Monday, 
Aug. 31st, is this entry: — 

''The liev. Mr. Coe and Stephens reported to l)e on their 
way to this post — members of the Presbyterian church, 
looking out for suitable places to make missionary e.-tab- 



lislimcnts for the Sioux and Cliippoways, found schools, 
mstruct in agriculture and the arts, etc." 

On the 1st of Sopteniljor those clergymen arrived and 
became the guests of the Indian Agent, with whom they 
had frequent conversations on the propriety of forming a 
colony in the Chip[)eway country, and also at the Falls of 
St. Anthony, for the Sioux. The xVgent explained what 
steps he had taken toward forming s(-hools. 

On Sunday, Se[)tember Gth, Ilev. Mr. Coe preached twice, 
and the next evening held a prayer meeting at the quarters 
of the commanding oliicer. lie also preached on the next 
Sunday, and on Monday, the 14tli, he and his companion, 
with a guide, started on horseback for the St. Croix River. 
Mr. Taliaferro had already commenced an agricultural 
establishment on Lake Calhoun, which he called Eatonville, 
and he was very glad to meet with any who had the welfare 
of the Indian in view, as the following letter shows: — 

Indian Agency, St. Petehs, 
September 8th, 1820. 

Rev. Sir : It having been represented to me by the Rev. Alvan 
Coe, that it is very desirable on the part of the Board of r^Iissions 
of the Presbyterian Cliurch to form an establishment at this post, 
and also within the heart of the Ciiippeway country bordering on 
the Upper Mississippi, for the pur^iose of agriculture, schools, and 
the development of the light and trutlis of the Cliristian religion 
to the unhappy aborigines of this vast wilderness. 

As my'vievvs fully accord in every material point with those of 
Messrs. Coe and Stephens, I can, in truth, assure the Board 
through you. Sir, of my determination heartily to co-o[>erate with 
them in any and every measure that may be calculated to ensure 
success in the highly interesting and important objects to which 
the attention of tlie society has been so happily directed. 

I have recommended to the government to appoint a special sub- 
agent, to reside at Gull Lake, to superintend the general concerns 
of the most warlike and respectable portion of all the Clii[)peway5 



of tlic r\li.-?>i^sippi and its tributary waters above Lake 
tliereby to lessen their visits to this Agency, it being desirable to 
prevent their coming in contact ico often with their old enemies 
the Sioux. 

Should the society form a missionary establishment on the waters 
of the St. Croix, some of which communicate witli lium Kiver of 
the 3Iississi[)[)i, and a special agent or sub-agent, tlie inlluerice of 
whom might be necessary to the more etncient op.erations of the 
missionary families there located, I have no doubt but that the 
government would be willing to appoint one I'or the S[>ecial duty, if 
represented by the society, accom[ anied by ex[)lanatory views on 
the subject. 

As to an establishment for the Sioux of this Agency, it would be 
in the pov.-er of the society to commence operations, without much 
expense, at the Falls of St. Anthony, where there is a good grist 
and saw mill, with suitaVde buildings, at present going to decay 
for the want of occupants. I would cheerfully turn over my at 
present infant colony of agriculturists, together with their imple- 
ments and horses, etc., to such an establishment. 
I have the honor to be. Sir, 

Respectfully your most obedient servant, 

Indian Agent at St. Peters, 

Upper Mississippi. 
Rev. Joshua T. Russkll, Secretary Board of ^Missions rresbyterian 
Church, rhiladelphia, Pa. 

Early in September, Surgeon I^. C. TTood left the fort on 
a visit to Prairie du Chien, and on the last of the month he 
returned in an open boat, with a youtliful bride by his side, 
the eldest ehiughter of Col. Zachary Taylor. ITow wonder- 
ful are the ehang'os of a generation! Col. Taylor live<l to 
become the rresident of tlie United States. Dr. II. C. 
"Wood, his son-in-law, is now the Asst. Surgeon General of 
the United States, while Jeffers(^n Davis, another son-in- 
law, under the irdluence of ambition, has become President 
of the States in rebellion, and John A\'ood, a grandson of 
Minx. Hist. Coll. Vol. II., Vavt 2. 9 



Taylor, is the Commaiuler of tlic Tallahassee, the noted 
rehel privateer. 

In the year ISoO, Col. Taylor was one of the Commis- 
sioners apj)ointe<l to hold another treaty with the Indians 
at Prairie dii Chien. For some reason the traders threw 
obstacles in the way, which called forth a letter from '^Old 
Zach," with these words, "Take the American Fur Com- 
pany in the agg-regate, and they are the greatest scoundrels 
the world ever know." 

This year there were so many drunken and licentious 
Indians lounging around the Fort that tlie following order 
was issued by Capt. Gale, the officer in command: — 

Heai)QUAi;tei{s, Fort Sxelling, June 1 7, 1830. 
The Commanding Olficer lias within a few mornings past dis- 
covered Indian women leaving the garrison immediately after 
reveille. The praetiee of admitting Indians into the Fort to re- 
main during tlie night is strictly proliibited. No olficer will here- 
after pass any Indian or Indians into tlie garrison without S[)ecial 
permission from the Commanding Olficer. It is made the duty of 
the officer of the day to see that this order is strictly enforced. 

By order of 


E. R. Williams, Lt. and Adj't. 

The next day after this order was read Capt. Gale re- 
ceived the following letter from ^fajor Taliaferro: — 

Agency House, St. Peters, June 18th, 1830. 

Sir: Since my request to you of yesterday to co-operate with 
me in endeavoring to counteract tlie views of the traders near this 
post, by exchiding all Indians from the Fort, I have become more 
fully ac(piainted with other facts of a nature calculated to ensure 
their success in preventing the Indians from attending the contem- 
plated treaty at Prairie du Chien this summer. 

Penit ion's band yesterday received by the hands of one of his 



nephews a keg of whiskey, and this same band has been kc[>t 
through the instrumentality of the traders in a state of continual 
drunkenness for some time past. 

No man can be made better acquainted witli tliese facts than 
myself. I shall place 3Ir. Farribault's bond in suit, as also ^Ir. 
Culbertson's, the moment it becomes fairly d(?veloped as to the 
course which has been pursued by them respectively. I hav.* scut 
confidential persons to all the villages to see how the Indians get 
their whiskey and from whom, and what number are found drunk 
in each. 

I have again to request that no Indians be permitted to ente-r 
the Fort for purposes of trade, as they have done for some time 
past, for they become insolent, lazy, and begin to attempt to take a 
stand independent of me ; consequently nothing short of their en- 
tire exclusion from the Fort will elTectually correct the evil now 
complained of. 

Mr. Campbell has just returned from his expedition to the several 
bands of Sioux. On his passage through their country they, u[ on 
learning my message, were willing to attend the treaty, but on his 
return all that he saw refused to accompany him to this pla<,'c, on 
the ground that an Indian messenger had passed just after him 
stating that the Sioux ought not to go down to the Prairie, for if 
they did they would be turned over to the Sacs and Foxes by the 
white people. This report naturally caused the whole of the band 
to disperse — their chiefs setting the example. Again, others state 
that as they can get plenty of whiskey from their traders an«l a 
little tobacco, that they had no occasion to go anywhere, and would 
not go — so that in the brief space of nine months my influence 
with most of the bands has been greatly im[)aired, in consequence 
of the quantities of whiskey which have been given them by the 
traders. Consequently the humane policy of the Government in 
regard to these deluded people has thus unhappily been interfered 
with, and this too at a time when it was all important tor them to 
have accepted of its munificence and mediation. 

The disappointment and embarrassment which will be caused tlie 
Commissioners by the refusal of the Sioux to attend may be more 



easily iniagineil tlian tl..*?cribe(], as the treaty cannot well go on 
without them, they being mainly concerned. 
I have the honor to be, very res[)tjctfiilly, 

your most ob't serv't, 


Indian Agent at St. Peters. 
Capt. J. IL Galk, 1st Infantry, Comd'g Fort Snelling. 

Xotwitlistanding the impediments thrown in tlie wny, 
Bome of tlic Sioux attended the congress of tri])es, and tlie 
M'dewakantonwans, in a treaty made at tliat time, he- 
stowed on tlieir half-hreed rehitives the country ahout Lake 
Pepin known as the "half-l)reed tract." 

After tlie agent and de-legation of Sioux went to Prairie 
du Chien, a nephew of Little Crow, with fifteen or twenty 
of the Kaposia band, went to the St. Croix and killed Ca- 
dotte, a half-breed, and three or four Chippeways. 

Before daylight, on the morning of August 14th, ISoO, a 
sentinel discovered the Indian council house on fire, and 
gave the alarm, but it was soon entirely consumed. The 
afternoon before, some drunken Indians came over from Mr. 
Bailly's trading house, and used abusive language. 

On the lltli of Septendjer, Mrs. Faribault's brother, an 
Indian, came to the Agent, and voluntarily informed him 
that his uncle, who married AVapasha's daughter, was the 
person who burned the council house. 

This year the agricultural colony of Sioux at Lake Cal- 
houn, namcil Eatonville, was under the superintendence of 
Philander Pi'escott, who was murdered by the Sioux in the 
massacre of 18(32. 

During the year 18ol, there was another arrival of emi- 
2:rants from Selkirk's settlenicnt. On the 25th of July, 
twenty of those unf )rtunate colonists came to the Fort, 
having been informed that tlie United States would give 
them farming implements and land near the post. 


FOIIT SNELLIXG, FROM 1819 TO 1840. 1 l^o 

Joseph R. Brown this year lia<l a trading at Limd's 
End, a mile above the Fort, on the Minner-:ota. 

About the last ofJuly, forty Sauks pa:<sed into the Sioux 
country, between the head waters of the Cannon and lUue 
Earth Rivers, where they met and killed several Si«.ux, at 
a jdace called Cintagali, or Grey Tail, not far from v. here 
the Sauks and Sissetons had fought in 1822 and 1820. 

During this summer. Captain AV. R. Jouelt was in com- 
mand of Fort Snelling. 

On the ITth of August, Rocque and liis son arrived at 
the Fort, tvrenty-six days in coming from Prairie du Chien. 
Rendered obtuse by whiskey, or some other cause, they 
crossed the Mississippi at Hastings, and ascended the St. 
Croix, and were fifteen days lost. Meeting some Cliippe- 
ways at last, they were turned back and shown the right 

On the 18th of September, ^Messrs. Dallam, Brisbois, and 
Joseph R. Brown arrived, having come through from 
Prairie du Chien by land, an unusual thing at that time. 

Although Illinois and Wisconsin settlers were much 
alarmed in 1832 by the Black Hawk war. there was com- 
parative quiet in the vicinity of Fort Snelling. A few of 
Wapasha's band united with the whites, and assisted in 
capturing the fugitives after the battle of Bad Axe. 

The first steamboat that arrived at Fort Snelling this 
year was the Versailles, on May 12, and she was succeeded 
by the Enterprise, on June 27. 

Eatonville colony, on Lake Calhoun, whieh commeneod 
with twelve Indians, had increased to one hundred and 
twenty-five, and a good deal of corn was planted. 

During the summer, the Sioux found the corpse of a 
white man near the second fork of the Des Moines River. 
He was tall, light-haired, dressed in a blue eoat, black -iik 
vest, and grayish pantaloons. The Indians took his watt h, 
and about twenty dollars in silver, to Alexander Faribault. 



On tlic lOth of June, 'Win. Carr and three drovers arrived 
at tlie Fort I'roni Missouri, with eiu'hty head of cattle, and 
six liorses for tlie use of the tr<^o|)S. 

At tlic urgent .solicitation of Mr. Aitkin, the trader, in 
tliis year Mr. Ayer, now of Belle Prairie, went to Sandy 
Lake and opened a mission school for Chii>poway children. 
In 1833 the Ticv. AV. T. Bout well, who now resides near 
Stillwater, establislied a mission station at Leech Lake. 

Li the year 1834, Samuel W. and Gideon IL Pond ar- 
rived, and oftered their services for the benefit of the Sioux, 
and were sent out to the Agent's agricultural colony on 
Lake Calhoun. This year also, Henry IL Sibley took charge 
of trading post at Mendota. 

During the month of ^lay, 1835, the Rev. Mr. AVilliam- 
son, M. ])., arrived at Fort Snelling, with his fainily and 
assistants, to establish a Sioux mission, and, on the second 
Sabbath in June, a Presbyterian church was organized in 
one of the company rooms of the Fort, and the sacrament 
of the Lord's Supper was administered to twenty-two per- 
sons, and Captain, now Colonel, Gustavus Loomis, of the 
army, was elected one of the session of the church. 

In the year 1835, Major J. L. Bean commenced the sur- 
vey of the Sioux and Chippeway boundary line, under the 
treaty of 1825. A military escort, mider Lt. AVm. Storer, 
accompanied him, and he proceeded as far as Otter Tail 
Lake, but the Indians were very troublesome, and con- 
stantly pulled up the stakes. 

Alexis Baillv, havinir been found 2:uiltv of furuishins: 
Indians with whiskey, was forced to leave the post in 
June, with his family, and Mr. Sibley became his successor 
at Mendota. 

On the 23d of June, Dr. ^Villiamson and family, and 
Alexander G. Iluggins, mission farmer, left the Fort for 
Lac-c|ui-parle, in company with Joseph Renville, Sr. 

The next day a long-expected steamboat, the Warrior, 


FORT SX ELLIN*;, FROM 1810 TO 1840. 


arrived with supplies and a pleasure ]>arty. Amonir the 
passengers were Captain Day and Lieut. Beech, ol' the 
army, Catlin, the artist, and wife. General G. W. Jones, 
J. Farnsworth, Mrs. Felix St. Train, Misses Farnsworth, 
Crow, Johnson, and others. 

On the od of July, ^fajor Taliaferro, as justiee of tlio 
peaec, united in marriage IIi}>polite Provost and Margaret 

Colonel Kearney, with a detacliment of 200 dragoons, 
passed through the southern }>art of Minnesota during tliis 

On the 16th, the Warrior again arrived at the Fort, and 
among the passengers were Gen. Eohert Patterson, sister 
and daughter, from Philadelphia. On the 27th, Catlin, the 
painter, left in a bark eanoe, with one soldier, for Prairie 
du Chien. On the last day of July, a train of Ked liiver 
emigrants arrived, with some fifty or sixty head of eattle, 
and twenty or twenty-five horses. Lieut. Ogden, Rev. Mr. 
Stevens, of Lake Harriet, and INIr. Sibley, purchased some 
of the horses. Including this party, since 1821, four hun- 
dred and eighty-nine persons from Selkirk Colony had 
arrived at the Fort, while a few, Abraham Perry and 
others, became farmers in the vicinity. The majority went 
dovrn to Galena, Yevay, and other points in Illinois and 

On the 29th of July the Indian Agent married Sophia 
Perry to a Mr. Godfrey. 

Michael Kilcole, an Irishman, and Joseph Vespuli. on 
their way from Ped Piver, had their three yoke of «x\en 
stolen by the Little Rapids Indians. As they had large 
families. Major Taliaferro circulated a subscrii>tion pa}>or in 
their behalf, and obtained the following names and sums: — 

Major Bliss, S5; Law. Taliaferro, S3; Major Loomis, So: 
Capt. Day, S2; B. F. Baker, f2; X. W, Kittson, si; Lieut. 
Ogden, §2. 



If tlio Iiulian.s had not been made drunk by tlie whiskey 
of iui[innc ii»led traders, the roblxiry would not have been 

Oil tlie 12rh of Se[»teni]Kr, tlie geologist, Featherston- 
haugh, arrived. His aetions were tho»e of a eonceited, ill- 
bred Kngli.-hman, and the ]x)ok he* aftervvards publi-hed in 
LoudcHi, called '-A Canoe Voyage up the Minnay .Soror," 
proved that lie was destitute of the iniitincts of a retined 

On the 2Gth of Xoveniber, Col. Stamlxingli, the nc'./ --iitl..r 
for the i»ost, arrived. 

The following conversation took place at the headquarters 
of Major Bliss, on December Tth: — 

Major Jjliss said, '*It was his opinion that a treaty was 
in contemplation with the Sioux for a cession of land, a 
large body east of the Mississippi, governed by the bound- 
ary line between the tribc-s." 

To whicli the Indian Agent replied: — 

"I feel confident there is and has been such a plan in 
conto!ii[>lation, although never officially made known to 
me, but the main object of such a purchase would be to 
I»lace the AVinnebagoes on the west and not east of the 
Mississijipi. Therefore if a treaty be in contemplation at 
all, it will have for its object the purchase of all the Sioux 
country, from the cession of ISoO, to strike a point fr)m 
the RchI Cedar on to the head waters of the Terre Bleu 
River, thence to the waters of the River des Canons, and 
following said river to its mouth; thence with the Missis- 
sippi River to the line of cession of 1830; or it may be 
varied so as to touch the River des Moines, Terre Bleu and 
Cannon Rivers." 

^fajor Bliss added: "I hear many letters have been 
written for the purpose of ejecting the object we sfK-ak of, 
and I shall not lie surprised to see a commissioner arrive 
here next spring." 



The Agent replied to this: "I do not know hut sudi u 
treaty might take phiee. It is de^^irahlc, on the part of tlie 
traders of the American Fur Company, that a treaty sliould 
he had with the Sioux. The treaty of 1880 first indicated 
a disposition to cause the United States to pay them for 
lost credits. I then defeated their ohjcct, for I view the 
allowance of all such claims as a fraud comnutted u[m)ii the 
Treasury, although legalized hy a treaty. The comi»any 
are much opposed to mc on this ground and fear me, and 
would he glad to liave me out of the country. I know to<^ 
much, and they are fully aware of my independence. I 
am determined at some future day, Major, to address the 
President. He abhors ini'piity and deception, and he will 
protect me." 

In the month of February, 1836, Fanny, daughter of 
Abraham l^erry, who had emigrated from Selkirk Settle- 
ment, was married to Charles ^lousseau, being the tifrh 
couple tliat had been imited in marriage by Mr. Taliafern^. 

The winter of 1S3G proved very severe to cattle. J. B. 
Faribault lost twenty head, Joseph R. Brown seven, II. If. 
Sibley seven, L. Taliaferro three, and Joseph Perry ten. 

The first steamboat that arrived in 1836 was the Mis- 
souri Fulton, on the 8th of ^hiy. ]Major Bliss left in this 
boat, and Col. Davenport succeeded as commanding olHcer 
of the Fort. 

On the 29th of May, the steamboat Frontier, Captain 
Harris, was at the Fort, the second arrival of the season. 

On June 1, the l*almyra came, with some thirty ladies 
and gentlemen passengers. On the 2d of July the St. 
Peters eame up and landed supplies. Among the passen- 
gers was Mr. XicoUet, the French astronomer, and several 
ladies from St. Louis, on a pleasure tour. Mr. Xicollet. 
who liad come for scientifie purposes, was kindly furnishe<l 
with a room in Mr. Taliaferro's house, and a frie!id<hii» 
was formed that lasted until the death of the former. The 



Indian Agent lias the following entry in his Journal, under 
date of July 12:— 

"^fr. Xicollet, on a visit to the post for scientific research, 
and at present in my family, has shown mo the late work 
of Jlenry K. Schoolcraft, on the discovery of the source of 
the ^lississippi, whicli claim is ridiculous in the extreme." 

On the ITth, Duncan Campbell, Sr., arrived from the foot 
of Lake Pepin, and reported that all hut twenty-seven of 
Wapasha's band had died from smallpox. 

On the 2Tth, Xicollet left the Agency for the sources of 
the [Mississippi. Just before his departure lie gave Mr. 
Taliaferro an original letter of AVashington to Elias Boudi- 
not, dated August 24, 1795, and givhig reasons for not 
attending the funeral of Mr. Bradford. 

On the 30th of July, a party of mounted Sac and Fox 
Indians killed twenty-four ^Vinnebagoes on Root River. 
They were descending the stream on their way to La Crosse, 
and were completely surprised. 

On the 12th of Se[)tember, at the house of Oliver Crarte, 
near the Fort, James AVells, subsequently a member of the 
Minnesota Legislature, was united in marriage to Jane 
Graham, a daughter of Duncan Graham. The ceremony 
was performed by ^Lijor Taliaferro. 

On the 28th, Xicollet arrived from thoL^pper ^lississippi. 

On October 6, Inspector General Croghan, U. S. A., came 
to the Fort on an othcial visit, and the next night the 
Thespian Company played in his presence ''Monsieur Ton- 
Bon," and "the Village Lawyer.'*' 

On the 9th, a small steand)oat came up with stores for 
the Government. 

The following table will give some idea of the j)rofits of 
the Indian trader in the year 1S3G : — 

FORT SNELLING, FROM 1819 TO 1840. 131 

St. Louis prices. 

3Iinnc9ota prices. 

Not gain. 

Three pt. Blanket. ..S^ 


GO l\i\t Skins 

at 20 cents, $12 


•"58 7.5 






9 G3 

1 X. W. Gun 







13 r>o 

1 lb. Lead 



i ( 



1 lb. Powder 






1 72 

1 Tin Kettle 







9 ->0 

1 Knite 









1 1 




1 40 

1 Looking GIa«> 



( I 




1^ yd. Scarlet Cloth.. 




i I 




9 00 

In the month of Xovombcr a Mr. Pitt went with a boat 
and a party of men to the Falls of St. Croix to cut j>ine 
timber. The Chippeways gave the consent, but tlie agree- 
ment wa3 not sanctioned by the United States authorities. 

On Tuesday, the 29t]i of Xovember, at the fpiarters of 
Capt. T. Barker, U. S. A., Al[.heu3 R. Frencli, of Xew 
York, was married to Mary Ann Henry, of Ohio. 

On the 30th of Deoeniber, there was an examination ot 
the Mission School at Lake Harriet. Henry H. Sibley and 
Major Taliaferro were appointeil examiners. Among others 
in attendance were Major Loomis, Lt. Ogden, and their 
families, and Surgeon Emerson. 

In 1837 the Agent at Fort Snelling was instructed to 
organize a reliable delegation of Indians, to proceed to 
"Washington, under ordei^s from Gen. Henry Dodge, Super- 
intendent of Indian Aftairs, for the purpose of talking over 
the propriety of selling the lands owned by the Sioux east 
of the Mississippi. ]vliles Vineyard, sub-agent, was also 
dispatched to invite the Cliippeways to a council near Fort 
Snelling, with tlie Commir>si oners, Gen. ^Vm. II. Smith, of 
Pa., and Gen. Dodge, of Illinois. In a little while I'JOO 
Cliippeways were at the Fort, to meet Gen. Dodge. A 
treaty was. concluded, but not without some stirriug inci- 
dents. Two prominent traders entered the Agency otHco 
in apparent haste, and asked for pens and paper. Some 



one rctunicil and hamlcd to Mr. A'an Antwerp, Secretary 
of the Cuniniissioner, a ela"nu Inr the mills on the Chippe- 
vray Kiver. The aniontit asked v/as .^oOOO. The Indians 
were surprised at the palpable fraud. One chief, for the 
sake of peace, was willing to allow SoOO for that which liad 
been of no benefit to them, but ol<l IIole-in-thc-Day and 
others objected even to this. 

Soon after yelling was lieard in the direction of Laker's 
trading post at Cold Spring, and it was learned that bar- 
ren, the father of AVm. AV. AVarren, the Anglojil)way that 
died at St. Taul several years ago, was marching down 
with some howling red devils to force the Commissioner 
to allow "Warren S20,000. As they rushed into the treaty- 
arbor, 'Sir. Taliaferro pointed a pistol at "Warren, and Hole- 
in-the-Day said, "Shoot, my father.'' Gen. Dodge begged 
him to stop, and the atfair ended by the insertion of $20,000 
in the treaty as Warren wishe(h 

The treaty witli the Chippeways being concluded. Gen. 
Dodo^e directed the Airent to select a delectation of Sioux 
and proceed to Washington. 

The traders attemi>ted to prevent the departure of the 
Sioux until they made a promise that they would provide 
for their indebtedness to the traders. The Agent, keeping 
his own counsel, eng-aged a steamboat to be at the landing 
on a certain day. Capt. Latferty was prompt, and to the 
astonishment of the traders, the Agent, interitreters, and a 
part of the delegation were cpiickly on board, and gliding 
down the river. Stop})ing at Ivaposia, they received Big 
Thunder and his pij»e bearer; at Red AVing, AVahkoota 
and his war chief came aboard; and at Winona, AVn[^asha 
and Etuzepah were added, making in all a delegation of 

Without accident they reached Washington, and a 
synopsis of a treaty that might be agreeable to the Indians 
was presented to Secretary Poinsett. 


The Fur Company was there, represented by 11. IT. 
Sibley, Alexis Bailly, LatVanihoise, Roeque, Labathe, Alex- 
ander and Oliver Faribault; and on the '2M\ ot* Sei)tL'nil)cT, 
1837, a treaty was signed, by which the pine forests of the 
valley of the St. Croix and tributaries were rendered a<'«'e-- 
sible to the white man, and thus a lV)un<hiti(>n laiil f(jr the 
organization of the future Territory of Minnesota. 

The delegation returned by way of St. l.ouis, and the 
steamer Kolla was chartered to carry them baek to Fort 
Snelling. On the trip one of the boilers colla^ised, but 
fortunately no one was scalded, and on the lOtli of Xovem- 
ber the party was landed in safety at the Fort. 

On the 25th of -May, 1838, the steamboat Burlington 
arrived with public stores. Among the passengers were 
J. X. Xicollet, J. C. Fremont and others, on an exploring 

On June 9tli, a delegation of Sioux from Kaposia came 
up to the Agency and complained that two men, Feter 
Parrant and old man Ferry, had located on their lands east 
of the Mississippi, ami wislied them ordered away until 
the treaty was ratified. They also stated that Farrant 
(known to early settlers as Figs' Eye) had located below 
the cave and sold whiskey. 

On the 10th, Fev. Mr. Figgs of Lac-cpii-parle preach e<l 
to the troops at the Fort. 

On the evening of the 13th, the steamboat Burlington, 
Captain Throckmorton, again arrived with a large number 
of passengers. Among others Capt. Maryatt, of the British 
Xavy, and the popular novelist. Also, Gen. Atkinson and 
Lieut. xVlexander, A. I). C, on a tour of inspection; Br. 
and ^Irs. Fhvees, U. S. A., Benj. F. F)aker, Franklin Steele, 
^[iss Sibley, ^liss F. F>. ITooe, of Va., etc. The next day 
the whole party rode out to the Falls of St. AntlK^iy. 

On the 15th, the steand)oat Brazil, Capt. Smith, was at 
the landing, and the then novel sight was presented of fi>'0 



Btonmboats at the Fort at tlic sauxc firm. Tlio family of 
Gov. IXwlgo came np on the latter. 

On tlie •20th, tlie steamboat Ariel arrived from >t. Louis, 
ami a ^fr. l>oehe, one of the i)a.'j<engers, Siiid that the .Sciuate 
liad ratified the treaty. 

On the 28th, the Ihirlington completed its third trip thi.s 
season, and brought up 14u r«jeruits for the 5th Infantry. 

On the evening of 0th of July, there vras a violent storm, 
and as John 13. Raymond, an old man sixty-live years of 
age, was looking out fi-om the door of Peter Quinn, near 
Cold "Water, he was instantly killed by lightning. lie 
was buried in the sTavevard of the Fort the next dav. 

The loth of July was an eventful day at the Fort, caused 
by the arrival of the Palmyra with an official notice of the 
ratification of the treaty. 

On board of the boat were some of the now old settlers 
of Minnesota, who pitched their tents at Marine Mills and 
the Falls of St. Cr<jix. Officers of the Fort and others also 
now made claims at Prescott and Falls of St. Anthony. 

On tlie 28th. Ciiptain Boone, with fifty or sixty drag«>ons, 
arrived from Fort Leavenworth, having been forty-five days 
in making the journey, and in surveying the route for a 
road from p<jst to i»ost. Caj't. Canfield. of the Toivigra- 
])hical Engineers, and Lieut. Tilghman, were also members 
of the Commission. 

On the 2d of August, IIole-in-the-Day, who had killed 
thirteen of the Lac-<|ui-j»arle Sioux, came to the Fort, with 
a few Chi[t|ieways, much to the regret of the officer in eom- 
nian<l, ^fajor IMympton. The next evening Mr. Samuel 
Pond met the Agent at Lake Harriet, and told him that a 
number of armed Sioux, from Mud Lake, had gone to 
Paker's trading house, to attack the Chippeways. The 
Agent immediately hastened toward the spot, an<l reache<l 
the house just as the first gun was fired. An Ottawa 
Indian, of IIole-in-the-I>ay's party, was killed, and one 



wounded. Of the Sioux, Tokali's son was sliot by 01 lO- 
quette, of Red Lake, just as he was scalping his victim. 
The Chii>peways were, as soon as possible, removed to the 
Fort, and at nine o'clock at night one Sioux was confined 
in the guard-house as a hostage. 

The next day INfajor riymi>ton and the Indian Agent 
determined to hold a council with the Sioux. The }»rin- 
cipal men of the neighboring villages soon assembh-d. 
Seveml long speeches, as usual, were made, when Miij'>r 
Plympton said : — 

"It is unnecessary to talk much. I have demanded the 
guilty — they nuist be brought." 

They replied they would. The Council broke up, and 
at 5 J P. the party returned to the Agency, with Tokali's 
two sons. A\^ith much ceremony they were delivered. 
The mother, in surrendering them, said: "Of seven sons 
three only are left ; one of them was wounded, and soon 
would die, and if the two now given up were shot, her all 
was gone. I called on the head men to follow me to the 
Port. I started with the }»risonei*s, singing their death- 
soncr, and have delivered them at the scate of the Fort. 
Have mercy on them for their youth and folly." 

Notwithstanding the murdered Chippeway had been 
buried in the graveyard of the Fort for safety, an attempt 
was made on the night of the council, on the part of some 
of the Sioux, to dig it up. 

On the evening of the 6th, ^hijor Plympton sent the 
Chippeways across the river to the east side, and ordered 
them to go home as soou as possible. 

Major Plym]»ton told the Sioux that the insult to the 
flag must be noticed, and if they would punish the prison- 
ers he would release them. 

The council reassembled on the 8th, and !Marcpuah ^fah- 
zali, Chief of Lake Pepin band, said, ''If you will bring out 
the prisoners, I will carry your views fully into etiect." 



Lieut. AVliitelioriie, oflicer of the day, wa- ai'eor.linLrly 
sent to briiis!; the prisoners, and soon ivturncd witli thc-in. 
The Cliiet' then said:— 

AVc will not disirrace the house of my lather. Let thcui 
be taken outside the enclosure.'' As soon as this was done 
his braves were ealled, and, amid tlie crvinu: of the women, 
the prisoners were disgraeed; their blankets were cut in 
small pieces, then their leggings and breech-cloths; after 
this their liair was cut olf, and, linally, they were Vv^l 
with long sticks, a most luimiliating intliction for a warrior 
to endure. 

The aftair being satisfactorily settled, tlie LidiaiLS quietly 

On the IGtli of August, Franklin Steele, Mr. Livin<rstun, 
and others, came around from the Falls of St. Croix in a 
barge. Jean ^n". Xicollet, with his assistants, Fremont and 
Geyer, returned to tlie post on tlic ioth, from explorations 
of the plains towards the Missouri. 

Commissioners Pease and Ewing arrive in the steamboat 
Ariel, on the •27th, and sit as a boanl to examine half-breed 
claims and determine on alleged debts due the trailers. 
Returning to St. Louis, the Ariel came back again on ^!^cp- 
tember 29th, with Indian goods, and 8110,000 lor the half- 
breed Sioux, and then made a trip up the St. Cruix Kiver. 

Xicollet came back to the Fort from a second expedition 
this season, on the 17th of October. 

^frs. Perry came to the Agency on the 18th, and com- 
plained that the day before, some of AVapasha's land, at 
her house, just below the stone cave, now in the sulnirb of 
the city of St. I'aul, attacked and killed three of her cattle. 
They did not like to see [»ers«)ns settle and prosper on lands 
tliat they had so recently ce«led. 

The Perry family were Swiss, who came down from 
Selkirk Settlement. The old man llrst settled near the 
Fort and became a great cattle raiser. As they constantly 

FORT SNKLLIXa, FROM 1810 TO 1840. 


broke into tlie govornincnt gardens he was ordered a\v:iv, 
but jiermitted to locate on tl)e east ?ide of the river. 'I'lu- 
ladies of the Fort did not wish liini too far distant, n< Mrs. 
Perry had distinguished herself in the rc-gion ronnd al.<>ut 
as an expert ^'•arcoucJiCur'' One of lier dangliteis ni:irri..d 
James R. Clewett, and another was married to a nuni nani(.-(l 

The steamer Gipsy came up to the Fort on the 21st with 
Chippeway goods. For the sum of .S4o0 it was then char- 
tered to carry these goods to the Falls of St. Croix. 

In passing up the lake, the boat grounded near tlie new 
town site, called Stambaughville, after the predecessor of 
Franklin Steele in the sutlership of Fort Snelling. On 
the afternoon of the 2Gth, the Falls were reached, and gO( uls 

The increased arrival of steamboats in 1839, indicated 
that the country was in a transition state. 

The first boat of the season was the Ariel, Captain Lyon, 
that reached the fort as early as April 14th. Twenty bar- 
rels of whiskey were brought in her for Joseph I\. JJrown, 
who had lived at Grey Cloud Island. 

On May 2d the Gipsy, Captain Grey, came up, bringing 
a chaplain for the Fort, the Rev. E. G. Gear, who continncd 
there until the post was disbanded. 

The steamboat Fayette followed on the 11th, and after 
landhig sutler's stores, proceeded Avith several persons of 
intelligence and character, connected with lundx-r com- 
panies, for the Falls of St. Croix. 

On the 21st, the Glaucus, Captain Atchison, made its 
appearance. On its way it left six barrels of whiskey for 
D. Faribault, about the site of the city of St. Paul. The 
soldiers managed to obtain some and become nnitinous, 
and many were put in the guaril-house. 

Years before this Mr. Faribault, sen., on one 22d of 

Minx. Hist. Coll. Vol. 11., Part 2. 10 



February, is said to liave received from Sergeant Mann ^SO 
for a gallon of whiskey. 

The Tennsylvania, Capt. Stone, arrived from Pittsburgh 
on June 1st, and among lier passengers wore Ins|)Cctor 
General Wool and Major iritdicock, Ijoth of whom have 
been in the service in crushing tlie present rebellion, with 
the rank of ^Vfajor General. 

The Glaucus made her second trip from St. Louis on the 
otli of June. 

The next day came the Ariel, bringing provisions for 
the Sioux. 

On the 3d of June a party of soldiers went to Joseph li. 
Brown's groggery on the east side of the river, and as a 
consequence no less than forty-seven were confmctl in the 
guard-house that night for drunkenness. 

On the afternoon of the 12th, Rev. Mr. Gavin, the Swiss 
missionary among the Sioux, was married to Miss C. Stevens, 
teacher of the Lake Harriet Mission School. 

ITole-in-the-Day, father of the present chief of that name, 
arrived at the Fort with five hundred of his tribe on the 
20th, and on the next day seven hundred and tifty more 
Chi})pcways came. At the same time there were eight 
hundred and seventv Sioux at the A2:encv. The steamboat 
Knickerbocker landed on the 25th and discharged goods 
for E. F. Baker, Sutler at the Post, and was followed on the 
next day by the Ariel, with stores for the Fur Company. 
Mr. Sinclair, of Selkirk settlement, with a train of forty 
or fifty carts, containing emigrants from the Red River of 
the North, encamped near the Fort on the 27th of June. 

On board of the Ariel came a passenger by the name of 
Libley, who, in detiance of law, sold a barrel of whiskey 
to S. Cam|»bell, U. S. lnteri»reter, and another to A. Leclerc. 
The result was that both Sioux and Chippeways were drunk 
the next night. 

Bisliop Loras of Iowa came up from Dubu(|ue,and made 



application to Luild a small Roman Catholic chapel ni.':ir 
the Fort about this period. 

On July Ist, the Swiss and Chippowa^'s, at the Falls ot* 
St. Anthony, smoked the pipe of peace, and the latt^T pro- 
ceeded liomeward. 

Some of the Pillager band of Chippeways remained 
behind, and passing over to Lake Harriet secreted them- 
selves until after sunrise on July 2d, when they suri»rised 
Meekaw or Badger, a good Sioux Indian, on his way to 
hunt, and killed and scalped him. The Rev. J. I). Stevens 
of Lake Harriet brought the news to the Fort. The ex- 
citement was intense anions; the Sioux, and immediatelv 

CD > V 

one hundred and fifty warriors hurried after the Chippeways 
that had gone up the Mississippi, and another party soon 
followed after a second band of Chippeways, who with Mr. 
Aitkin had left the Fort the morn ins; before to g-o to La 
Pointe by way of the St. Croix River. 

On the 3d an action took place in the ravine near Still- 
water, and also near Rum River portage. The losses of the 
Chippeways at the first place were twenty-one killed and 
twenty-nine wounded, and about ninety killed and wounded 
on Rum River. 

The Rev. Thos. W. Pope, Methodist missionary, at 
Kaposia, left on the 16th, and was succeeded by the liev. 
Jno. ITolton. 

Major Taliaferro now sent in his resignation as Indian 
Agent, to take effect at the close of the year. 

The steamboat Ariel came up to the Fort on the 17th, 
and was followed by the [Malta on the 22d, with the annuity 
goods for the Sioux. Among the passengers were Lt. 
Sibley, since Gen. Sibley of the rebel army, Lt. Marcy, 
now Inspector General L^. S. A., with their families, Gvw. 
Hunt and fiimily, Mr. ^k-Call of Philadelphia, and other 
gentlemen. The evening of the day of the arrival of the 



^[alta, at the quarters of Capt. A. S. ITooc, yir. BainLridge 
was married to Miss Uooa of Virginia. 

Oil tlie •24th, the Malta went round to Lake St. Croix, 
for tlie j^assengers to visit the late battle groun<l in the 
ravine, where the ^Minnesota Penitentiary is now situated. 

J)uring tlie month of August the water in the river was 
so low that Louis Martin, tlie farmer for Grey Iron's hand, 
drove liis team down the bed of the river from tlie Fort 
to the trading post at INIendota. 

Notwithstanding the low stage of water the light drauglit 
steamer Ariel reached the landing on the 15tli of August. 

A few days after this an order was received by ^hijor 
Plympton defining the limits of the military reservation 
around Fort Snelling. 

On the 8th of September some Sioux crossed over to the 
east side of the Mississi})pi and destroyed the groggery on 
the military reservation owned by Jos. R. Brown, Henry 
Mencke, a foreigner, and Anderson, a rpiarter breed Sioux. 

The steamer Pike arrived on the 9th with ninetv recruits, 
and again on the 17th with ninety-rive more. 

About the middle of September, an Irishman by the 
name of Hays was reported missing. He boarded with 
Plielan, in a log cabin near tlie junction of the present Hill 
and Etigle streets, in St. Paul, which was the second edifice 
erected on the site of the future capital of Minnesota. 

As Hays had some money, and his absence was not 
satisfactorily accomited for by his partner Phelaii, suspicion 
settled on the latter. 

On the 22d of September Xicollet and Lt. J. C. Fremont 
arrived from Devil's Lake. 

Some Indians came to the Agency on the 27th, and said 
that Hays, supposed to be lost, was dead and in the river 
near Carver's cave. The following note was received by 
the commanding officer of the Fort relative to the body: — 



Agenxy House, St. Peters, Sept. 27, 1830. 
Major: I have sent the bearer, a good Indian, to go with tlic 
gentlemen who are in quest of the identity of Mr. Hays' body, now 
in the water near Carver's old cave. The Indian will condtict 
them to the spot, being so directed by his Chief, if requested so 
to do. 

Very respectfully, your most ob't serv't, 

LAW. TALI AFEIUiO, Indian Agent. 
Major J. Plymptox, U. S. A. Conid'g Fort Snelling. 

On examination of the body, his head, jaws, and nose 
were found fractured, indicating a violent death. The 
next day Phelan was brought before Henry II. Sibley, 
Justice of the Peace at Mendota, and examined as to liis 
knowledge of the cause of the death of John Hays. lie 
was confined in Crawford county prison for some time, but 
as there were no witnesses against him he was at last dis- 
charged, and coming back made a claim on the lake east 
of St. Paul, which to this day is called by his name. 

On the 5th of October Henry C. Mencke, one of the 
whiskey sellers that prowled around on the east side of 
the river, having obtained an illegal appointment as special 
deputy sheriff for Clayton County, Iowa, went and arrested 
Major Taliaferro while sick, at the instance of one Clewett, 
on the false charo-e of aidinGr in destrovins; a whiskev 

When the knowledge of this outrage reached the com- 
manding officer, a detachment was sent over to Henry C. 
Mencke, who was an unnaturalized citizen as well a.-; an 
intruder on the military reserve, and he was ordered to 
leave the country forthwith. The barefaced scamp, in ar- 
resting the Agent, surprised him in his moniing dress, 
threw him on the floor, placed his knee on his stoma<-h, 
and then presented a pistol to the Agent's ear. 

On the 8th of October, the steamer Des Moines ap- 
peared with Indian goods. 



The imfuulont conduct of the wliiskey soUors between 
the Fort and the site of the present eity of St. Puul, was 
made known to tlie AVar Department, but that very month 
Mr. Poinsett, then Secretary of Wisconsin, directe<l the 
U. S. Marshal of Wisconsin to remove all intruders on the 
land recently reserved for military [>urposes opposite to 
the i)0st, on the east side of the river; and should they 
dehiy beyond a reasonable time, he was authorized to call 
upon the commander of the post for aid. All winter was 
given to the squatters to prepare, and the next spring 
there being a dis})Osition to further procrastmate, on the 
6th of May, 1840, the troops were allied out, and the 
cabins destroyed to prevent re-occupation. 

The squattei^ then retreated to the nearest point Mow 
the military reserve, and there they became the inirlorious 
founders of a hamlet, which was shortly graced with the 
small Roman Catholic cliapel of Saint Paul, the name of 
which is retained by the thrifty capital of ^linnesota, 
whicli has emero-cd from the t>:ro2:2:eries of certain lewd 
fellows of the baser sort." 

We could continue these reminiscences to the year of the 
oro^anization of ^Minnesota, but there are manv still livinor 
who are better acquainted with recent events than the 
writer, and he prefers to leave the task to some other pen. 




It is known by many persons in Minnesota, tliat. for 
many years previous to the Sioux outbreak, JaniL-s Vs\ 
Lynd was engaged in the preparation of a work on the 
Xorth American Indians, especially those of the Dakota 
family. This was in such a state of preparation that the 
winter before his violent death, he expected to have had it 

The manuscript has been found in a somewhat damaged 

Bearing date Fort Hidgley, Jan. G, 18()4, I received 
letter from Ca])tain L. AV. Shepherd. He says: -I have 
briefly to state that in the course of the spring of IStJo, an 
enlisted man who was emj)loye<l under my direction, at 
the Lower Sioux Agency saw-rnill, there or near Little 
Crowd's village, found six bundles of manuscript ni>r<^ry of 
the Dakotas and other Xorth American Indians, which he 
gave to me, and I yet have in my possession. Many pages 
seem to be gone. lie said some of the same soldiers, under 
the mistaken idea that it was valueless, used the same fur 
cleaninoc arms.'' 

In rejjiy to this letter I suggested that the manusc^'ipt 
be placed in the rooms of the Minnesota Historical Socii-ry, 
subject to the reclamation of Mr. Lynd's father or brothers. 

James AVilliam Lyxd w-as possessed of an acquisitive 
and well balanced mind, and had the advantage of a g^.^d 
education. lie vras said to have been a good mathoinati- 
cian, and his talent for acrpiiring languages was certainly 



of a luL^li order, lie liad also cultivated music to some 
extent. But witli all this mental cultivation, he attaches 
himselt* to the Indian trade, an<l I'or a numher of vcars mav 
he said to have lived in a wigwam. Whatever disadvan- 
tages morally and religiously must have attended this 
manner of life, there can he no question that it gave him 
an op[)ortunity of learning the inside of Dakota life and 
Dakota legentl, such as missionaries did not have, and 
could not have oijoycd. 

It is known that ^Ir. Lynd's aim was to write a histori- 
cal work, embracing in its scope the origin and destiny, 
tlie manners and customs, the language and religion, the 
character and the leg-ends of the Dakota tribes. For mv- 
self, after an examination of what remains of his manu- 
script, I can say truly that I am better satisfied with his 
success than I ex})ected to be. He expresses himself elearly 
and forcibly; and every page attests his diligent investiga- 
tion. Although in some of his statements and conclusions 
I sliould 1)0 obliged to differ from him, yet, on the whole, 
I regard him as truthful and trustworthy. 

Tlie first chapter of ^Ir. Lynd's work is entitled ''The 
Dakota Tribes of the Xorthwest." This portion of the 
manuscri[)t is nearly perfect, consistinij: of more than fifty 
pages. Mr. Lynd first takes a general view of the dif- 
ferent Indian stocks^ in this part of Xorth America — as the 
Algonquin, the Iroquois, the Mobilian, and the Dakota. 
And then turning his attention to the latter, he gives some 
account of the various tribes which are regarded as belong- 
ing to this great family. These he arranges as follows: — 
The Sioux, or Dakota proj)er; the Assinaboines: the 
Mandans; Ujtsarokas, or Crows; the AVinnebagoes: the 
Osages; the Kansas; the Kapi>aws; the Ottoes ; the Mis- 
sourias; the lowas; the Omahas; the Poncas; the Ar- 
rickarees; the Minnetarees or Gros- Ventres; the Arkan>as 
and the rawnees. Some of the Calitbrnia tribes, he thinks. 



belong to this flimily. ^Vhctlior the Chieiines find a place- 
here or not, is still a question. 

The Ahahaway and the Unktoka are mentioned as two 
lost tribes. The ibrnier were a branch of the Upsarokas, 
and lived on the Upper Missouri. The Unktoka, incanini; 
*'our enemies," all said to have lived in AViskonsan, s'.iith 
of the St. Croix, and to have been destroyed by the Inwas 
about the eommencement of the i)resent eentnry. 

"The Sioux and their Country" is the subject ot' the 
second chapter. It is quite fragmentary — only a dozen 
pages remaining out of more than thirty. 

The legend of the l\ed Pipe Stone Quarry, contained in 
this chapter, is not devoid of interest. ''The Pipe Stone 
Quarry is a place of great importance to the Sioux. From 
it they obtain the red stone clay — Catlinite — of which 
their pipes and images are formed ; and a peculiar sacred- 
noss is, in their minds, attached to the place. Xumerous 
high bluffs and cliffs surround it ; and the alluvial llat 
below these, in which the quarry is situated, contains a 
huge boulder that rests upon a Hat rock of glistening, smooth 
appearance, the level of which is but a few inches above 
the surtace of the ground. Upon the portions of this ro»-k 
not covered by the boulder above and upon the boulder 
itself are carved sundry wonderful figures — lizzards, snake<, 
otters, Indian gods, rabbits with cloven feet, muskrats with 
human feet, and other strange and incomi»rehensible thinirs 
— all cut into the solid granite, and not without a great 
deal of time and labor exj>ended in the performance. The 
commoner Indians, even to this day, are accustomed to l»)ok 
upon these with feelings of mysterious awe, as they call 
to mind the legend connected therewith. 

"A large party of Ehanktonwanna and Teetonwan Pa- 
kotas, says the legend, had gathered together at the quarry 
to dig the stone. Upon a sultry evening, just before sun- 
set, the heavens suddenly becahie overclouded, accompanied 



by licavy rnniMin«2^ tliundor, and every siini of an approach- 
ing storm, such as tVef[Uently arises on tlie prairie without 
much warning. Each one hurried to his lodge expecting 
a storm, when a vivid flash of lightning, followed imme- 
diately hy a crashing peal of thunder, broke over them, 
and, looking towards the huge boulder beyond their camp, 
they saw a pillar or column of smoke standing upon it, 
which moved to and fro, and gradually settled down into 
the outline of a huge giant, seated upon the bouldc-r, with 
one long arm extended to heaven an<l the other pointing 
down to his feet. Peal after peal of thunder, and flashes 
of lightning in quick succession followed, and this flgure 
then suddenly disap})eared. The next morning the Sioux 
went to this boulder, and found these figures and images 
upon it, where before there had been nothiiig; and ever 
since that the place has been regarded as irakan or snnrjJ.''^ 

But little light is yet thrown on the question of the 
origin of these people. The ^NTaiidaus arc said Xn have a 
tradition that they came from >iniU'r the earth. They lived, 
long ago, down under the crust of the earth, by a large lake. 
A grape-vine pushed its roots down through. By means 
of the vine they crawled up through to the beautiful v.-(^rld 
above. But a large fat woman tried to climb up the vine 
and broke it, thus preventing the remainder of the tribe 
from coming up to the light. 

The Osages are said to connect themselves in their origin 
with the beaver. The first father of the Osages was hunt- 
ing on the prairie all alone. lie came to a beaver dam, 
where he saw the chief of all the beavers, who gave him 
one of Ills daughters to wife. From this alliance si)rang 
the Osages. 

The Yankton Dakotas have a tradition of the first man, 
woman, and baby. The man found the woman on the 
prairie, lie hunted for her, and they lived very happily 
together. The woman grew tatter than the man. liy and 



by ho came home from liuntinir, and found tlio woman sit- 
ting in a corner of tlie teopce with something that s(^uallcd. 
He thought it was a Ijird. 

But, ti-adition aside, Mr. Lynd tliinks that the argu- 
ments from language and special customs, lead us t*) con- 
nect tlie Xorth American Indians with the Asiatics, and 
especially with the Hindoos. In the Faquir of India he 
finds a brother of tlie dreaming god seeking Dakota. 
"The watei*s of the Mississii)pi and the Missouri mingle 
with the Ganges and the Indus." 

The chapter on Early History,'' which is the third, 
conchides in this way : ''One thing alone is evident through 
this ancient gloom. A great past klea^ that has no reference 
to the present state of the Indian, is still sdj-i:.riMait in him, 
and points with unmistakable finger to an origin beyond 
the land of his hiter inheritance. But it passes over him 
like a dream in a dream, and seems enwrapped in the man- 
tle of silence." 

Of Mr. Lynd's chapter on character only about ten pages 
are preserved. In a note he draws a likeness of the Ta-<> 
ya-tay-doo-ta, or Little Crow, which may be interesting. 

"Among the j>resent living chiefs of the Dakotas, Ta-o- 
ya-tay-doo-ta is the greatest man. He possesses a shrewd 
judgment, great foresight, and a comprehensive miii<l, 
together with that greatest of requisites in a statonum, 
caution. As an orator, he has not his equal in any liviuLC 
tribe of Indians. His oratory is bold, impassioned, and 
persuasive; and his argument.s are nearly always forcible 
and logical. 

"In appearance Little Crow is dignified and commandinL^ 
thoudi at times restless and anxious. He is about five feet 
ten inches in height, with rather sharp featuivs antl a 
piercincr liazel eye, too small for beauty. His head is 
small, but his forehead bold. Altogether he rcmimls me 



very strikingly, if I may be allowed the exprcsr^ion, of the 
late ex-Governor Morehead of Kentucky, whom )ic cer- 
tainly resemblcri in physical charaeteristics, except" 

"Keligion," is the title of one of the most perfect and 
valuable chapters in this work, and one wliich would, in 
my opinion, luake a very good article in some literary re- 

One of the last cliapters in this work is entitled The 
Destiny of the Dakota Tribes." Xone of the perfected 
copy of this part, and only a portion of the first leaves re- 
mains. Perhaps this is less to be regretted, as the sad 
occurrences of the past twenty months have materially 
changed the apparent destiny of the Sioux. AVhen writ- 
ing these chapters, Mr. Lynd had little thought tliat he 
would be the iirst victim of such an insane uprising. 

In regard to tliis destiny he takes a hopeful view. The 
" painted face and naked skin" of other peoples have been 
changed into more civilized ap[>earances — and why not 
these? !Mr. Lynd is very just to our missionary work. 
"It has been," he says, "a ceaseless and untiring eiibrt to 
promote their welfare." 

Again, he says, "The influence of the ^Mission among 
the Dakotas has ever been of a direct and energetic char- 
acter. The first efforts of the ^lission were directed more 
to the christianizing than to the civilizing of the Sioux; 
but of late the missionaries, though their exertions in the 
former respect arc not at all abated, have been more earnest 
in their endeavors to teach the Indians to plant and till." 

It is not strange that ^fr. Lynd should make this mis- 
take. Our previous efibrts in that direction were bringing 
forth fruit in the latter years of the mission. The Lible 
carries with it the plough and the hoe. 

There is also a well-written introduction to this v/ork, 
which is nearly complete, of more than twenty pages. The 



manuscript, hnporfect as it is, I regard as quite valuaMo. 
And I would suggest that, iu case it is not claiuKMl l»y Mr. 
Lynd's friends, the Historical Society would <lo well to 
have it published in some form. Illustrated, it wouM 
make a valuable book. 

Yours truly, 


St. Anthony, May 13, 1SG4. 



A STRANGER, comiiig amoiig the Dakotas for the iir>t time, 
and ohsorviiig the endless variety of objects upon which 
they bestow their devotion, and the manifold forms which 
that worship assumes, at once pronounces them Pnnthd^t.<. 
A further acquaintance with them convinces him that they 
are Pauthoists of no ordinary kind — that their pantli"isni 
is negative as well as positive, and that the engraftments of 
religion are even more numerous than the true branches. 
Upon a superficial glance he sees nought but an inextricable 
maze of Gods, Demons, Spirits, beliefs and counter-beliefs, 
earnest devotion and reckless skepticism, prayers, sacrifices 
and sneers, winding and intermingling with each other, 
until a labyrinth of pantheism and skepticism results, and 
the Dakota, with all his intinify of deities appears a 
creature of irreligion. One speaks of the ^Medicine Dance 
with respect, while another smiles at the name — one makes 
a religion of the Raw Fish Feast, whilst another stand- by 
and laughs at his performance — and others, listening to the 
6U[>posed revelations of the Circle Dance, with reverend 
attention, are sneered at by a class who deny in tot'j the 
u-ahin nature of that ceremony. "U'hat one believes 
another a{)i)ears to deny ; and though pantheism rears itself 
{)rorninent above all, yet the skepticism of the one part 
seems to offset the earnest devotion of the other. 

To such an observer, indeed, the living faith seems want- 
ing in the mind of a Dakota. lie has been told that such 



or sncli a belief is true; aTid lie receives it as the living do 
sweet odoi-s in a dream — an impression is made, but it may 
be nothing which made it. He apj^ears to deem the senses 
everything, the ideal nothing; and though there is no more 
imaginative being in existence than the Indian, yet it seems 
an essential idealism, having reference only to reality. lie 
will play with ideas in a practical form — follow the most 
fantastic trains of thouirht with a readv viijor and stronir 
originality; but the train vanishes, and the amusement is 
over. Express as truth a single thought beyond his reason, 
or in apparent conflict with the evidences of his senses or 
his own hereditary beliefs, and a stereotyped expression of 
incredence will invariably pass over him. 

Such, upon a rude acquaintance, appears to be the religious 
character and belief of the Dakotas. AVell might the ques- 
tion be asked — what is the religion of this people? AVere 
this all that a deeper investigation showed, the religion of 
the Dakotas would indeed be a problem of no easy solution. 
But the secrets of no religion are reached by'a mere know- 
ledge of its forms. The deeper sources must be gained ere 
its character be known; and to judge even of many of the 
modern Christian ceremonies by outward appearances could 
be productive of only false results. 

In common with all the nations of the earth the Dakotas 
believe in a A^akantanka or Great Spirit. But this Being 
is not alone in the universe. Xumbers of minor divinities 
are scattered throughout space, some of whom are placed 
high in the scale of power. Their ideas concerning the 
Great Spirit appear to be, that He is the creator of the 
world, and has existed from all time. But after creating 
the world and all that is in it. He sank into silence, and 
since then has failed to take any interest in the atlairs o'l 
this our planet. They never pray to IIim,lor they deem 
Ilim too far away to hear them, or as not being concerned 
in their affairs. Xo sacrifices are made to Him, nor dances 



in Ilis lionor. Of all tlio si)irits, Ho i.s tlic Great Spirit: 
but His power is only latent or neiz:ative. They swear by 
llini at times, but more eommonl\' by otht-r diviiiitics.* 

* No question Ikis more puzzled — niul, it may be said, unnecessarily — 
those wlio have gone among the Sionx, than that of, v:ho the 11 uAa;.- 
tanka or Great Spirit is ? Though the name is fre(iuently heard, yet it 
does not appear to be well understood even by the Sioux tliemselves : 
and from the fact that they otl'er no praise, sacrifices, or feasts to tliat 
Divinity, many have gone so far as' to imagine that the uame^ eren^ 
teas introduced to their acquaintance by the whites. 

Nothing could be more unfounded than this. Not to mention the ab- 
surdity of the proposition that so radical an idea as that of one spirit 
being superior to and more powerful than all others — an idea at the bottom 
of and pervading all religions, even of the most barbarous — should n^ 
with an exception in the Dakotas ; there arc internal proofs of its native 
origin, both in the testimony of the people, and in the use of the word 
itself. The Dakotas themselves aver that "Wakantanka (the Great Spirit) 
has always been hold divine among them — though they cannot call to 
mind the time when He ever was worshipped, and acknowledge thai but 
little is known or thought about him. 

We have already seen that the word "Wakantanka is of frequent oc- 
currence in the W<ikan-}Volanpi or Sacred Feasts, and that it is used 
interchangeably with the Algonquin word Maneto or Great Spirit. This 
alone is proof enough, but there are other proofs. In the Medicine Dance, 
■which, though very modern as far as the Dakotas are concernt-d. was 
introduced among them long years before any mission reached them, the 
Wakantanka is expressly declared to have been the creator of the world. 
Further proof is not required. 

The idea of a Great Spirit is a fixed one in their minds ; but they look 
upon him as a Negative Good, with no attributes whatever of a positive 
or active character; and when they call upon him to witness anything, 
as they now fre([ucntly do in conversing with whites, it is as the God o f 
the white man that tlu y do so, and not as the God of the Dakotas. 

With regard to the attributes of the Wakantanka, as thoy are all latent 
or unexercised, so they attract no notice from the Dakotas : for why 
should they address one who, they imagine, cannot hear them, and who 
takes no interest in them actively? They certainly would be t\ir trom 
showing that "Innnanity has a conu^ion character," if tliL-y di<l so. The 
Wakantaiil a of the Dakota^ is, indeed, an exact prototype of the ancient 
Brahm of the Hindoos : and no one will be so rash as to hazard the asser- 



The Divinities of Evil iiinoii:;^ the Dakotjis innv l)e o.'ille<l 
legion. Their special delight is to make man miserahle or 
to destroy liim. Demons wandering through the earth 
causing sickness and death— spirits of evil ready to pounce 
upon and destroy the unwary — the Thunder Bird scattering 
his fires here and there, striking down whom he lists — 
spirits of the darkness, spirits of the light — spirits of earth, 
air, fire, and water surround him upon every side, and with 
but one great governing object in view, the misery and 
destruction of the human race. The wanderer is lured l»y 
will o' wisp to dark marshes and obscure places but to be 
strangled; the benighted traveller is tormented by spirits 
along the way, till he lies down in despair to die: the stray 
lodge becomes the delight of the wild Ohnogica^ and women 
with child are but torturing sports for the vengeful AmujUe. 
All their divinities, with the exception of the Wakantanka 
or Great Spirit, take especial delight in deeds of darkness, 
and are emphatically workers in the night. AVlien the 
hail has destroyed all their crops and tamineisupon them; 
when, in the deep snows of winter, the butialoes, thi«'k 
around their lodges, are seized with a sudden panic, and 
run for days with their noses to the wind, rendering it 
impossible to follow; when a whole camp is struck down 
by some epidemic, and fear and dread are in their midst: 
then it is that the Genii delight to torture and pursue, to 
pull, wrack, tear, and rend them with all sorts of tricks 
and inventions, till their wrath is appeased or the people 
can escajie. The ubiquitous Unktomi tortures them in their 
hunger by bringing herds of buffaloes near the camp, which 
they no sooner start to pursue than he drives away by 
means of a black wolf and a white crow: Canotidan diaws 

tion that because the present HinJoostanose worship minor deltic? — alm<i<t 
entirely ignoring Brahm — tlieretbre the Hindoos derived their knoirUdije 
of Brahm from some other nation. Yet the one supposition is no U>h 
ridiculous than the other. 

Mi>N. Hist. Coll. Vol. II., Part 2. 11 



the hungry liuntcrs to tlic depths of tlie wood l)y imitating 
the voices of animals, or by the nefarious '*cico! cieoT'* 
wlien he scares them out of their senses by showing him- 
self to them; and the vindictive Tya drives them back 
from tlie hunt to the desolation of their own Iodides. 

Their religious system gives to everything a spirit or 
soul. Even the commonest stones, sticks, and clays have a 
spiritual essence attached to them which must needs be 
reverenced — for these spirits, too, vent their wrath u|)on 
maidvind. Indeed, there is no object, however trivial, but 
has its spirit. The whole material or visible world, as 
well as the invisible, is but one immense theatre for spirits 
and fiends to play their torments upon mankind. Fre- 
quently the devout Dakota will make images of bark or 
stone, and, after painting them in various ways and put- 
ting sacred down upon them, will fall down in worship 
before them, praying that all daiiger may be averted from 
him and his. It must not be understood, however, that 
the Dakota is an idolater. It is not the iniage which he 
worships, any more than it is the cross which is wor- 
shipped by Catholics, but the spiritual essence which is 
represented by that image, and wliich is supposed to be 
ever near it. The essentially physical cast of the Indian 
mind (if I may be allowed the exi)ression) rcrpiires some 
outward and tangible representation of things spiritual, 
before he can comprehend them. The God must be pre- 
sent, by image or in person, ere he cauvfytler up his devo- 
tions. ^ 

This system of giving to everything a spiritual essence, 
seems to have prevailed among all the Indian tribes both 
of Xorth and South America. 

"The Peruvians believed that everything on earth had 
its archetype or idea — its mother^ as they emphatically 

* The form of invitation to a feast. 



styled it — wliioli they held sucrod, as, in some sort, its 
spiritual essence."* 

Similar to tliis is the general Dakota belief that each 
class of animals or objects of a like kind, possesses a pecu- 
liar guardian divinity, which is the mother archetype. 
The resemblance of this to the Egyptian doctrine is not 

Sexuality is a prominent feature in the religion of the 
Dakotas. Of every species of divinity (with the excej»tion 
of the AVakantanka or Great Spirit) there is a plurality, 
part male and ]»art female. This belief, which was also a 
part of the ancient Egyptian creed, is common, as lar as 1 
can learn, to all the Dakota nations. The first Cnktchi 
(Sea God) for instance, created from a rib by the AVakan- 
tauka himself, was a male, and the second one was fond- 
nine. From tliese two sprung all the numerous Unktchi, 
both male and female, that are now scattered through the 
waters and upon the face of the earth. Yet the Dakota 
carries this idea fiirther than I understand the ancient 
Egyptian to have done; for even the spirits which are 
supposed to dwell in earth, twigs, and other inanimate 
substances, are invested with distinctions of sex. 

To the human body the Dakotas give foui^ S2)infs. The 
first is supposed to be a spirit of the body, and dies with 
the body. The second is a spirit which always remains 
with or near the body. Another is the soul which ac- 
counts for the deeds of the body, and is supposed by some 
to go to the south, by others, to the west, after the death 
of the body. The fourth always lingers with the small 
bundle of hair of the decease("'^^ept by the relatives until 

*Prescott's Conquost of Peru, book i., chap. 3. 

f Among the ancient Egyptians each animal was supposed to be iin<Ier 
the protection of sonic god. Hence they represent each go<\ by a litini:in 
body, with tlie head of the animal ?:aered to it. True Christian hiercv- 
glyphics of such character are not lacking even at the present Jay. 



tlicy have a chance to throw it into the enemy's country, 
wlien it becomes a roving, restless spirit, bringing death 
and disease to the enemy wliose country it is in. 

From this belief arose the practice of wearing four scalp- 
feathers for each enemy slain in battle, one for each soul.* 

"With rcGcard to the place of abode of the four souls of 
men — though they believe that the true soul that goes 
south or vest is immortal — they have no idea, nor do they 
appear to have any particular care as to what may become 
of them after death. Like the primitive Hebrews, they 
appear to be looking solely to temporal blessings. It may 
be remarked, that " the happy hunting grounds^'' supposed 
to belong to every Indian's future, are no part of the 
Dakota creed — though individual Dakotas may have 
learned something like it from the white men among them 
who are impregnated with the idea. 

The belief in the powers of some Dakotas to call up and 
converse with the spirits of the dead is strong in some, 
though not general. They frequently make feasts to these 
Fpirits and elicit information from them of distant relatives 
or friends. AssembUng at night in a lodge, they smoke, 
put out the fire, and then, drawing their blankets over 
their heads, remain singing in unison in a low key until 
the s])irit gives them a picture. This they pretend the 
spirit does ; and many a hair-erecting tale is told of spirits' 
power to reveal, and the after confirmation. 

The following will give the reader a view of this spirit- 
power they deem some to possess: In the winter of 1830 
were encamped at Big Stone Lake a large body of Sioux, 
composetl mainly of Sisitons, Ihanktons, and Mdcwakaii- 
tons. Dutfalo were plenty, the winter mild, and feasting, 

•Some Sioux claim a ffth scalp-feather, averring that there is fifth 
spirit which enters the body ot' some animal or child after death. As 
far as I am aware this belief is not general, though they ditler in their 
accounts of the spirits of man, even in the number. 



dancinfT, and ganiblini: wore in full play anionEC tliom. A 
war party was set on foot against the Ojibwas, wlio orciipicd 
the country about Fort Ripley ; and all the young braves 
and many of the older men joined in and started. The 
Mdewakantons were encamped eight miles below the rt-st 
of the Sioux; but on the evening of the second day alter 
the war party had started, just as night was falling, a pa!iic 
siezed the whole body of Sioux, and, Sisitons and all, as if 
by a preconcerted movement, they struck their tents :ind 
moved on to an island in the lake in huddled confusion. 
They were now altogether, and no apparent danger, but 
still the panic remained. Finally, an old woman, ninety- 
two years of age, said that she would consult the spirits. 
In their fear they were ready to listen to anything ; so a 
lodge was cleared, a small fire kindled in it from liint and 
steel, and the old woman entered, closing the door after Irt 
tightly. Seating herself she lighted the black pi^'e, and 
after smoking for a time laid it aside, beat out the fire, and 
th(ui drawing her blanket over her head she commenced to 
sing in a low key in anticipation of a revelation from the 
spirits. Crowds of women and children, together with a 
few old men, surrounded the lodge, waiting anxiously for 
what should follow. Suddenly the old woman was hoard 
to cry out, as if in extreme terror ; and hastily throwing 
open the door, they found her lying upon the ground in a 
swoon. On coming to she related that she had seen a 
terrible picture. Fourteen men arose up from the wo>t. 
bloody and without their scalps, and fiicing these rose up 
great numbers from the east, thirteen of whom api>oared 
with blood upon their forms and apparently about falling. 

Two days afterwards the Sioux came home with Iburtcen 
scalps, but with thirteen of their own party on biei*s. The 
Ojibwas had come west to make war, but seeing the very 
larsje Sioux war trail had turned to iro east asrain, and the 
Sioux vice versa. Thus the Sioux were coming west and 



the OjiLwa going oast — wliicli coniirincd the old woman's 
revelation in every re>pect. 

Certain men also profess to have an unusual amount of 
the icaknn or divine princi[>le in tliem. By it they assume 
the working of miracles, laying on of hands, euring of the 
sick, and many more wonderful operations. It is this ^rakan 
in men which oj)e rates in the ito-icvowing of the Dakotas. 
Some of these persons pretend to a recollection of former 
states of existence, even naming the jiarticular hody they 
formerly lived in. Othei*s, again, assert their i)Ower over 
nature, and their faculty of seeing into futurity and of 
conversing with the deities. A third class will talk uf the 
particular animal whose hody they intend to enter when 
loosed from tlieir present existence. 

In endeavoring to sustain these pretensions they occasion- 
ally go through performances which are likely to deceive 
the ignorant throng. 

At a feast made in honor of Ilcyolri, the anti-natural God, 
they asscmhle in a lodge with tall conical hats, nearly naked, 
and painted in straiige style. Upon the tire is placed a huge 
kettle full of meat, and they remain seated around the tire 
smoking, until the water in the kettle heginsto hoik which 
is the signal for the dance to commence. They dance and 
sing around it excitedly, plunging their hands into the 
boiling water, and seizing large pieces of hot meat, which 
they devour at once. The scalding water is thrown over 
their hacks and legs, at which they never wince, com- 
plaining that it is cold. Their skin is tirst deadened, as 
I am credibly informed, by ru])bing with a certain grass ; 
and they do not, in reality, experience any uneasiness from 
the boiling water — a fact which gives their performances 
great mystery in the eyes of the uninitiated. 

At other times a lodge will be entirely cleared of every- 
thing in it, and one of these faquirs will produce ropes 
and thongs, desiring some of the stronger men to tie him 



tightly. The tynig is usually douc by those not connected 
with the performance, and some of these afhrm that they 
have tied their arms, elbows, and feet so tightly as to break 
the skin, and then tied the feet t() the hands and enveloped 
almost the whole body in knots and twists that it would 
seem impossible to undo. The person thus tied is put into 
the empty lodge by himself, and the door made fast from 
without. Xo one is allowed to touch or 2:0 near the lod'^-e, 
and the Indian thus bound remains singing alone for a few 
minutes, when he cries out, the door is oj^'ned, and he 
comes forth free from bonds. 

This ceremony is performed to obtain an interview with 
Takushkanshkan (the moving God), who is supposed to 
release them. It is looked upon by the throng as in the 
highest degree irakan. 

Pantheism rests at the foundation of all the religi«>n of 
the Dakotas. In strictness, it can hardly be called Pan- 
theism, for they do not believe that the whole universe is 
but an expansion of one God, but that everything in the 
universe has its own spiritual essence or god. Yet for 
want of a better term {^\\\qq jyohjtheisrn is much too limited 
in its signilication), I may be permitted to use it. 

Xo one deity is held by them all as a superior object of 
worship. Some deem one thing or deity as iyotan ichi/i, 
or the supreme object of worship, whilst othei^ reject this 
and substitute a different one as the main god. Thus, those 
Dakotas who belong to the Medicine Dance, esteem Unktchi 
as the jrreatest divinitv. The western tribes neglect that 
deity, and pay their main devotion to Tunkan (Lii/an), the 
Stone God, or Lingam. As a result of these ditferenccs of 
worship, an apparent skepticism arises on the ancient 
divhiities among them, whilst a real skepticism exi>rs as 
to their intrusive forms of religion. The Dakota, ind.-cd, 
is not a creature that ignores reason. AMien the great men 
of the medicine dance assert that they have power to lly, 



that they can cure disease by a word, can slay animals 
or men by a nod — the western Dakota smiles at their pre- 
tensions. The medicine dance is no part of his hereditary 
creed ; he does not know these things to be true. His ancient 
faith, and the instructions of his early days, he clings to, 
but looks with suspicion upon these new ideas. 

The radical/o/-?/i.'? of icorshlp obtaining among the Dakotas 
are few and simple. One of the most primitive and ancient 
is that of A\^oshnai)i," or sacrifice. To every divinity 
that they worship, they make sacrifices. U})on recovery 
from sickness — uj^on the occurrence of a long-wishcd-for 
event, on disease appearing among a family or camp, and 
even upon the most trivial occasions — the gods are either 
thanked or supplicated by sacrifice. The religious idea it 
carries with it is at the foundation of all their ancient cere- 
monies, and shows itself even in the every-day life of the 
Dakota. The Wohduze or Jahoo had its origin here; the 
Wiwanyag A\^acipi, or Sun Dance^ carries with it the idea; 
the AVakan Wohanpi, or Sacred Feast (Feast of the First- 
fruits), is a practical embodiment of it; and Ilanmdepi, or 
God-seeking of the sterner western tribes, is but a form of 

Xo Dakota, in his worship, neglects this ceremony. It 
enters into his reliijious thou2i:hts bv dav and bv niirht, in 
the midst of multitudes or alone on the prairie; and even 
upon the death bed their thoughts wander back to the 
teacliings of their childhood and the sacrifices of their 
early days; and their last breath is spent, like the immortal 
Socrates, in ordering the fulfilment of their forgotten vows 
or in directing the final sacrifice for their own spirit. 

The sacrifices made upon recovery from sickness are 
never composed of anything very valuable, for the poverty 
of the Indian will not permit this. Usually a small strip 
of muslin, or a piece of red cloth, a few skins of some animal, 
or other things of no great use or value, are employed. 



Sometimes a pan or kettle is laid up for a sacrifice. But 
after a short time tlie end for wliieli the sacrifu-e was made 
is attained, and it is removed. Those in need of sucii thini:^ 
as they see offered for sacrifice may take them for their 
own use, being careful to substitute some other article. 

Perhaps the most common forms of sacritico are those 
which are made in the hunt. Particular portions of each 
animal killed are held sacred to the god of the chase or 
other deities. If a deer is killed, the head, heart, or some 
other portion of it is sacrificed by the one who slays it. 
The part sacrificed differs with ditierent individuals. 
In ducks and fowls the most common sacrifice is of the 
wing, though many sacrifice the heart, and a few the head. 

This custom is called wohduze^ and is always constant 
with individuals, i. e.^ the same part is always sacrificed; 
yet there are a few experienced hunters who have mixed 
much with the whites, and who have learned to abandon 
this custom. 

Of a like character with this icohdiize^ or special sacri- 
fice, though disconnected from it, and instituted for a dif- 
ferent purpose, is the taboo. It bears the name of icohduze 
(the same as that just described), but is by no means the 

When a youth arrives at an age proper for going on the 
war path, he first purifies himself by fasting and the inipi 
or steam bath for the term of three days, and then goes, 
with tears in his eyes, to some medicine man, whose icakan 
influence is undoubted, and prays that he will present him 
with the wotawe, or consecrated armor. This medicine 
man is usually some old and experienced znya-wokan^ or 
sacred war-leader. After a time the armor — usually con- 
sisting of a spear^ an arrow, and a small bundle of paiut^ 

* It is a singular fact that nothing but the spenr of this armor Is ever 
used in battle, though it is always carried with thera upon war parties. 




— is presented to tlie young man ; hut until it i3 so pre- 
sented, he must fast and continue his purifications inces- 

At the same time tliat the old man presents the armor, 
he tells the youth to what animal it is dedicated, and 
enjoins it upon him to hold that animal sacred. He must 
never kill or harm it, even though starvation he ujxtn him. 
At all times and under all circumstances the tahoo" or 
sacred wjunction is upon it, until, by slaying numerous 
enemies it is gradually removed. By some the animal is 
held sacred during life, the taboo being voluntarily re- 
tained. Frequently they form images of this animal and 
carry about with them, regarding it as having a direct 
uifluence upon their every-day life and upon their ulti- 
mate destiny — a thing supernatural, all-poweriul, and 

Among the Algonquin tribes it is represented that each 
person had his tutelar divinity^ and always carried some 
token of this divinity about with him. 

JS'ow, although our knowledge of the Algonquins is 
more complete than of any other Xorth American race, 
yet the qtiestion may be asked whether these tutelary 
divinities and the image of the taboo are not one and the 
same thing? The Algonquins possessed sacred armor; 
and, if sacred, was it not dedicated to some object? and 
would not that object assume the same importance, in the 
eyes of the individuals possessing the armor so dedicated, 

* At various times the missionuries have endeavored to get tlie Sioux 
to sign the temperance pledge. They were all willing enough to touch 
the pon in token of signature, but no inducements could make them draw 
the figure of their taboo: for should they break such a pledge — a thing 
they were doubtless all looking to — it would be great sin, and call down 
the wrath of the spirit of the taboo upon them. Many, however, out of 
a desire to please would draw an animal for a signature, but not the true 
one of their own individual taboo. 



as the s})irit of tlie taboo docs in the mind of tlie Dukotu? 
It is certainly i)Iausi])le.* 

Hand in hand with the saerillcial system, or, rather, one 
of its most prevalent forms, is the AVakan AVolianpi or 
Sacred Feast. Formerly no Dakota would partake of the 
first-fruits of the tield or of the hunt v/ithout oti'ering a 
part, by tlie Sacred Feast, to the deities: but, at the 
present day, these feasts are not confined wholly to this 
idea, but are made even upon trivial occasions. It must 
not be understood, however, that the practice of propi- 
tiating the deities, or thanking them by an offering of the 
first-fruits^ has died out. On the contrary, it is in full 
force among them. Some are even so religious that they 

* I must here be permitted to hazard a conjecture as to the origin of 
the totemtc system of the Algonquin and Huron- Iroquois races. 

In each of tlie Okodakiciyupi or secret societies among tlie Dakota 
tribes, there is one object that is specially worshipped, and every member 
of any particular society of this kind holds the other members as bro- 
thers. In the taboo also one animal is the sacred object of many persons. 
Thus many Dakotas have the wolf for taboo; others have the lynx as a 
common god, to whom their war-spears are dedicated ; and still other 
classes the otter, fox, bear, etc. There can be no doubt that the Zuya 
Wal'an, who bestows these sacred animals as a taboo on the Dakotas. 
does so, at this day, at random. Yet, numerous persons, finrllng them- 
selves with the same taboo, and esteeming the same animal wal an, would 
naturally unite into one society; and thus one common taboo wouM 
render them one common okodakiciyapi or family. This is further 
corroborated by the fact, that even in common life, where one Dakota 
takes another as his koda, i. e., god, or friend, they become brothers in 
each other's families, and are, as such, of course unable to intermarry, 
thus corresponding with the totemic system, in which members of the 
same badge cannot marry. The image of the taboo, then, may be, at 
the same time, the totem of the Algonquin, and his supposed tutelary 
divinity; and it is not imj)robal)le that the totemic system had its ori^dn 
here. It is true that non-intermarri;igc is not prohibited strictly in the 
okodakiciyapi of the Dakotas; but Its exceedingly rudimentary state, as 
compared with the thorough and fundamental system of the Algonquins, 
will account for this. 



will partake of no food without offering a portion to the 
divinities as a sacrifice." But tlie system has been ex- 
tended, so that is by no means confined to the ^'/•■>M'ruits, 
but is made upon every occasion. The touch of time is 
upon this, as upon all the customs of tlie race, and they 
are altered and debased. But the main idea stands promi- 
nent over all, notwithstanding the changes. 

It is impossible to name all the deities to whom these 
Sacred Feasts are made. The most common offering is to 
the spirit of the medicine sack ; and this, among the 
eastern Dakotas, has sup})lanted all the rest. 

The inference has been made by some whites, who have 
carefully observed this ceremony, that, as the sacrifices to 
the evil divinities are mostly of a propitiatory character, 
and as the Sacred Feast appears to be more a ceremony of 
thanks than otherwise, it was originally intende<l for 
thanks to the "Wakan Tanka, or Great Spirit. Yet the 
Dakotas do not now so understand it, nor, indeed, appear 
to know anything of its ordination. 

Hmimdepi or God-Seeking is a form of religion among 
the Dakotas that bears within it very ancient footprints. 
The meaning of this word, in its common acceptation, 
appears to be greatly misunderstood by some. Literally, 
it means only to dreajn, and is but another form of the 
word hanmna : but in its use it is applied almost wholly 
to the custom of seeking for a dream or revelation^ practised 
by the Sisitonwan, Ihanktonwanna, and Titonwan, Sioux, 
and by the Crows, Minnitarees, Assinaboines, and other 
western Dakotas. In this respect it has no reference 
whatever to the common dreams of sleep, but means 
simply the form of religion practised. 

* "Others again [Sioux] will never eat unless they bestow the first 
mouthful as an otlerlng to the prairie." — Sage's Western Scenes, Phila- 
delphia: G. D. Miller, ISuo, p. 81. 



If a Dakota desirGs to be particularly succc^jsful in any 
(to him) iraportaut undertaking, he lirst purities liiniself 
by tlie Inipi or steam bath, and hy fasting for a term of 
three days. During the whole of this time he avoids 
women and society, is secluded in his liabits, and en- 
deavors in every way to etherealize himself, preparatory 
to the performance of his religious rites, in order that he 
may be jnire enough to receive a revelation from the deity 
he invokes, ^^^len the period of fasting is passed, he is 
ready for the sacrifice, which is made in \'arious ways. 

Some, passing a knife through the breast and arms, 
attach cords or thongs thereto, wliich are lastened at the 
other end to the top of a tall pole raised for the purpose, 
and thus they hang, suspended only by these cords, for 
two, three, and even four days, gazing upon vacancy, tlieir 
minds intently fixed upon the object in which they desire 
to be assisted by the deity, and waiting for a vision from 
above. Once a day an assistant is sent to look upon the 
person thus sacrificing himself. If the deities have vouch- 
safed him a vision or revelation he siofuifies the same bv 
motions, and is released at once: if he be silent, his silence 
is understood, and he is left alone to his barbarous reveries. 

Others attach a buflalo hair rope to the head of a buffalo 
just as it is severed from the animal, and to the other end 
affix a hook which is then passed through the large muscles 
in the small of the back, and thus fastened they drag the 
head all over the camp, their minds meanwhile being fixed 
intently, as in the first instance, upon the object in which 
they are beseeching the deity to assist them. 

A third class pass knives through the flesh in various 
parts of the body, and wait in silence, though with fixed 
mind, for a dream or revelation. 

A few, either not blessed with the powci-s of endurance 
or else lackins: the couraare of the class first named, will 
plant a pole upon the steep bank of a stream, and attaching 



ropes to tlie muscles of the arms and breast, as in tlie first 
instance, will stand, ])ut not lumg, gazini^ into space, with- 
out food or drink, lor days. 

Still another class of these /'iqnirs practise the ITanmdepi 
without such liorrid self-sacritice. For weeks — nay, for 
months — they will tlx tlieir minds intently upon any de- 
sired object to tlie exclusion of all others, frequently crying 
about the camp, occasionally taking a little food but fasting 
for the most part, and earnestly seeking a revelation from 
their god. 

The sufferings they undergo in these self-torturings are 
excruciating. In the first instances, particularly, the over- 
powering thirst, the change from the heat of day to the 
cold dews of night, the gnawings of hunger, and the in- 
flamed muscles, all produce sullerings with which even 
death is not a comparison. Xo Hindoo devotees could be 
more earnest or sincere in their self-inmiolation than these 
poor Dakotas in their Ilanmdepi. They practise these 
ceremonies daily. Among the eastern Dakotas the Medi- 
cine Dance appears to have taken the place of these more 
barbarous ceremonies — among the AVinnebagoes, entirely. 
Indeed, the ^Tedicine Dance, though an intrusive religious 
form, may be considered as an elevating and enlightening 
religion in comparison with the Ilanmdepi. That this 
barbarous religious ceremony is even now commencing to 
fall away, under the combined influence of contact with 
the white man and intrusive religions, is very evident ; and 
a century or even half a century hence, it will most likely 
be numbered with the dead customs. 

The AViwanyag A\''aci})i or Worship of the Sim as a di- 
vinity, is evidently one of the most radical bases of Dakota 
religion. It has a subordinate origin in the AVihanmnapi 
or dreamimg^ and is intimately connected with Haumdepi 
or Vision llaDting. This most ancient of all worships, 
though it is of very frequent occurrence among the Da- 



kotas, does not take place at stated intervals as among the 
old nations of the East, nor does the whole trilje partii-i- 
pate in the ceremonies. It is performed hy one person 
alone, such of his relatives or friends assist ino; in the cere- 
monies as m.av deem fit or as he may designate. 

Preparatory to this, as to all the other sacred ceremonie.ri 
of the Dakotas, is fasting and purification. The Dance 
commences with the rising of the sun and contiiuies for 
three days, or until such time as the dreaming worshi[»per 
shall receive a vision from the spirit or divinity of the Sun. 
He faces the sun constantly, turning as it turns, and keein 
ing up a constant hlowing with a wooden whistle. A 
rude drum is beaten at intervals, to which he keeps time 
with his feet, raising one after the other, and bendin.g his 
body towards the sun. Short intervals of rest are given 
during the dance. The mind of the worshipper is lixed 
intently ujjon some great desire that he has, and Is, as it 
were, isolated from the body. In this state they are said 
to receive revelations from the sun, and to hold direct inter- 
course with that deity. 

If the woi*shipper of this luminary, however, should fail 
to receive the desired revelation before the close of the 
ceremonies, then self-sacrifice is resorted to, and the cere- 
monies of the Haiimdepi become a part of the wor.-hip of 
the Sun. 

Yet, in all the sacrifices of the Dakotas, we find no such 
barbarous ofierhigs as were made by the ancient Egyptians, 
Persians, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, and by the old Peru- 
vians and Aztecs. Human sacrifices form no part of their 
religion. In this respect the barbarism of the AVe>t pre- 
sents a nobler history than that of the East. Oidy one 
instance is on record,"^ in the wliole history of Dakota 

* The sacrifice of a son by his ottti father, mentioned in SrhnnfrrnrCs 
CtmdUion and Prosj)€cts, IV., 51, as occurring among the Sioux, is be- 



nations, whore such a sacrifice was ofrored. This was 
among the I'awnees. A young Sioux girl who had been 
taken captive by that nation was put to death by hohling 
fire under lier arms and feet, and her body, still (p.iivering, 
was then cut into small pieces. From each of these pieces 
a drop of blood was squeezed over their corntields as a 
sacrifice to the god of the harvest. Yet the Dakotas look 
upon such actions with horror, even where the sacrifice is 
in the person of an enemy. The slaying of enemies in war 
may, indeed, be regarded as a sort of sacrifice ; but tlie 
deliberate sacrifice of a prisoner as a form of religion is 
not a custom among them. They usually adopt prisoners 
into the nation and treat them kindly. 

Kor do we find that bigoted attachment to one form of 
religion and suspicion of all others, so common even among 
Christian nations. Their hereditary religion they cling to 
with tenacity, and a generous skepticism arises with regard 
to the intrusive forms of religion among them. But those 
who adopt these last they never persecute nor ostracize. 
They are tolerant^ but jealous. This last w^ord, indeed, 
accounts for their hostility to those who have embraced 
Christianity. They can tolerate, but they dread encroach- 
ments which overturn all their religion. 

The deities upon which the most worship is bestowed, 
if, indeed, any particular one is nameable, are Tunkan 
{Inyan) tlie Stone God^ and Wakinyan the Thunder Bird. 
The latter, as being the main god of war, receives constant 
worship and sacrifice; whilst the adoration of the former 
is an every-da}' aftair. The Tunkan^ the Dakotas say, is 
the god that dwells in stones or rocks, and is the oldest god. 

lieved — if, indeed, the thing ever took phice — to be the only instance 
ever known among them. It must be looked upon, as the Sioux them- 
selves look upon any such transaction when spoken of to them, as an in- 
stance of insanity, and consequently hardly worth mentioning. Certainly 
nothinfT could be further from their customs. 




If asked why it is considered the oldest, they will tell you 
because it is the hankst — an Indian's reason. The most 
usual form of stone eni[>loyed in worship is round, and 
about the size of the huniau head. Tlie devout Dakota 
paints this Tirnkon red, putting colored swan's down upon 
it, and then falls down and worships the god which is 
supposed to dwell in it or to hover near it. 

"WTaat the general belief of the Dakotas is Avith regard 
to the resurrection of the body, I am unable to ascertain. 
The old Peruvians — who bear more than one siscn in their 
language, manners, customs, and religion, of a co-origin 
with the Dakotas — had their miiiiiinics or a preservation 
of the body with a view to resurrection, but they were a 
fixed nation and could do so. Had the Dakota nations 
been localized in the same manner, perhaps the same thing 
would have occurred among them."^ 

There are those among the Dakotas who profess to believe 
in the doctrine of transmigration^ or the passage of the 
soul after death into the body of some animaL It is this 
class that give a Jifth soul to man. Some few of these 
metempsychosists even go so far as to aver that they have 
distinct recollections of a former state of existence, and of 
the passage into this. The belief, as before stated, does 
not appear to be general. 

In the worship of their deities 'paint forms an important 
feature. Scarlet or red is the religious color for sacrifices, 
whilst blue is used by the women in many of the ceremonies 
in which they participate. This, however, is not a constant 
distinction of sex — for the women frequently use red and 
scarlet. The use of paints, the Dakotas aver, was taught 

* The placing of dead bodies on sfatlblds — a temporary preservation 
of tliem — seems to have the same object in \ie\v, as far as their mode ot" 
life admits of it. Acquaintance uith the Dakota< shows tliat they have 
an hereditary and universal opposition to burying their dead under ground 
until it is absolutely necessary, from the rapidity of decay, to do so. 
Minx. Hist. Coll. Vol. 11., Part 2. 12 



them by the gods. Uvkft'hi taught the first medicine ineii 
how to })aint themselves when they worshipped him. and 
what colors to use. Takushkcnishkan (the Moving God) 
whispers to liis favorites what colors are most acceptable to 
him. lleyoka hovers over them in dreams, and informs 
them how many streaks to employ upon their bodies, and 
the tinge they must have. Xo ceremony of worship is 
complete without the vakan or sacred ai>plication of paint. 
The down of the female swan is colored scarlet, and forms 
a necessary part of sacrifices. 

The tiinkan is painted red, as a sign of active worship,"^ 
and the Dakota brave is never more particular in the 
choice of paints which may please his deities than when 
upon the war path. 

There are no set seasons or times of worship. Each 
Dakota prays to his gods or makes sacrifices to them at 
such times and in such places as he deems best. In most 
cases, circumstances call forth his active religion, wliich 
otherwise lies dormant. Dreams are a main source. A 
brave dreams repeatedly or vividly of the sun, and straight- 
way he conceives it to be his duty to worship that lumi- 
nary by a Sun Dance. Death makes its appearance in a 
family, and immediately the Dakota must propitiate the 
spirits of darkness by fasting and sacrifice. The wants of 
the Indian, also, are a prime source of his active religion. 
One wishes to be successful in stealing horses or upon the 
war path, and tails to begging the assistance of the deities 
by self-sacrifice, preceded by fasting, penance, and purifi- 

That there was a time with them when all these radical 

* Speaking of tlie modern Hindoo temples of worship. Bavard Tavlor 
says: "Some of the figures have been recently smeared with red paint, a 
sign that they are .still Mor.-hipped by some of the Hindoo sects.*' 

— India, China, and Japan, Chapter IJI. 



forms of religion had a positive, and not a negative, rx- 
istence, were active and constant instead of latent and oidy 
called out by circumstances, there can be no good grounds 
for doubting. The internal proofs are too strong to admit 
of doubt. At the present day, though tlie religious senti- 
ment among them is potent in the chase, the dances, the 
games, and upon the war path, the last-named alone, 
probably, develops it in its true force. The dangcron- 
positions they may at any moment be forced into, tlu' 
gloomy forest and the lonely prairie, the strange country 
and the ap2:)roaching conilict, all combine to cast a dark 
shade over them, favorable to active religion. At other 
times circumstances, alone, call them to their rites and 

It is remarkable that the idea of purification should Ix' 
so deeply rooted in the mind of the Dakota. It is as strong 
in them as it was in the ancient Hebrews. Their entire 
religion is pervaded with it. In all sacred ceremonies, 
where fire is used, they kindle anew, for purification, with 
flint and steel, or by friction. The body, too, must be 
prepared for interview with deity; and for a Dakota to 
commence any religious ceremony without having first 
purified himself by the inipi, or steam bath, and by fasting, 
would be the height of iniquity. They ap2:»ear, indeed, to 
approach sacred things with the same awe that the ancient 
Jews experienced coming near the chamber of the Holy of 
Holies; and the injunction, "Take off thy sandals — this is 
holy ground," seems ever before them. 

The idea of evil, also, seemes to be deeply rooted in their 
minds. It pervades all their opinions, sentiments, and 
beliefs. It may asked, from whence did it spring? Tin* 
solution (if it would be wise to venture a solution) would 
apparently take us back to a time when they possessed a 
religion purer than that which their present forms exhibit. 



Xo Other inferonce is left us. To use Dr. Tiiley's old fiirure 
— if a person finds u broken wateli, lie does not abuse his 
reason by imaLiininic that it was always so. Del;»a>L'nient 
pre-su[)[>oses at least comparative purity. AVhat, then, is 
the ease with the reli<j;ion of the Dakotas? AVe find two 
principles pervading it all, the one of good, and the other 
of evil. The ])rinci[>le of good has been uncultivated until 
it has become so far debased that the name of God even 
has lost its original use, and is employed as a form of ad- 
dress among them ; while the principle of evil has been 
cultivated and extended until it pervades all their philo- 
sophy, and enters even into the commonest phases of their 
life. Good is always negative, whilst evil is always posi- 
tive. I can name no divinity of Good among the Dakotas 
except the Wakan Tanka, or Great Spirit. Xone of their 
other deities are represented as possessing even negative 
good. If this, then, be so, the conclusion may be drawn 
that the Dakotas originally believed in one God ; but that 
the evil principle, which was ever present with them, and 
of the existence of which they had daily evidence among 
themselves, as they supposed, in disease, sorrow, and death, 
was the origin of that plurality of evil divinities which is 
found among them, perpetuated, perhaps, by the traditions 
which they originally brought \\'itli tliem from the parent 

Summing up the religion of the Dakotas, we find B.ui- 
theism is the great base upon which it stands, and two 
radical forms connected with it in the worship of the sun, 
and IIanmde})i or God-see Ian r/. All their other religious 
customs and dances are mere/o/*//i5 of worship. 

At the root of all these forms, stand two prominent ideas 
— purijic'ition and sacrijice, and from them is built up the 
whole external structure. 



Constructed, then, Dakota religion stands thus: — 

Ilain Base. 

Derivative Basses. 
A\^iwANVAG AVacipi, Or Sun AVorship. 
Hanmdepi, or God-Seeking. 

Base Forms. 

These constitute tlie '^\'hole religion of the Dakotas. 

It will be observed that I have paid no attention what- 
ever to the ^ledicine Dance, the Circle Dance, or the Brave 
Dance in this analytic view of the Dakota theology. As a 
part of the pre^^c/?^ religious ceremonies of the AVinnebagoes, 
eastern Sioux, and a few other Dakotas, these dances are, 
perhaps, worthy of consideration; Init, as they are rnfriisive 
forras^ they cannot be considered as entering into the radi- 
cal and native, as well as prevailing, religion of the race. 
An analysis of the religion of the Medicine and Circle 
Dances, belongs properly to a history of the nation and 
race to which those dances are clearly traceable; and the 
Brave Dance forms but a very inconsiderable fraction of 
the religion of the Dakotas. Xeither does it contain any 
other ideas, or even forms of worship than those embraced 
in the table just given. 

Xor have I found, in observing the religious ceremonies 
of the Dakotas, that the Medicine Dance exercises that 
powerful influence over this people which some have ascribol 
to it. In cases of extremitv, I have ever noticed that thcv 
appeal to their Tankan (Stone God), first and last, and they 
do this even after the ceremonies of the Medicijie Danro 



have bocu gone throiigli with. All Sioux agree in reaving 
that the Timkan is tlie main reeii)ient of their prayers; 
and among the Titons, ^fandans, Thanktons and ^Vestern 
Dakotas, tliey pray to that and tlie spirit of the hulialo 
almo>t entirely.